Preconception Care: What Are the Benefits to Couples Trying to Get Pregnant?

You may be missing something if you’ve been trying to have a baby but are still unsuccessful. There are countless reasons why a couple can’t get pregnant, including low sperm counts, reproductive system issues, existing medical problems, etc. If your doctor confirmed that you don’t have any of these conditions, maybe all you need are simple tips without going through stressful and expensive procedures.

Unfortunately, not all women and couples are the same. It may take longer for many people to conceive. That’s why fertility awareness and preconception care are essential.

What is Preconception Care?

Also known as pre-pregnancy care, preconception care refers to how a woman and a man take care of their health before getting pregnant. It involves medical professionals providing biomedical, social, and behavioral health interventions to improve a couple’s health. Reducing environmental and behavioral factors that can contribute to poor maternal or child health is also one of its goals. 

Depending on a person’s personal needs, preconception care varies. In most cases, healthcare professionals may recommend a course of treatment or follow-up care.

Preconception care includes:

  • Physical, medical, and psychological assessment
  • Counseling ( healthy lifestyle, environmental or occupational exposures, genetic disorders
  • Education ( healthy lifestyle, vitamin supplementation, reproductive health courses)
  • Medications
  • Carrier screening and testing
  • Appropriate genetic conditions treatment

Advantages of Preconception Care When Planning for a Baby

The World Health Organization enumerated some positive outcomes of preconception care as follows:

1. Prevents Birth Defects

If a woman manages her health conditions and leads a healthy lifestyle before becoming pregnant, it increases her chances of having a healthy child. A healthy lifestyle may include quitting alcohol, smoking, drug use, and medications. It also includes taking vitamins and supplements such as folic acid.

2. Prevents Neonatal Diseases

Studies link some conditions such as STIs to neonatal infections. That’s why women and their partners are advised to have STI screenings before they conceive. In case of positive results, preconception care addresses complications.

3. Minimizes the Risk of Some Forms of Childhood Cancers

The most dangerous time to be at risk for childhood cancer is while your baby is still in your womb. Following a healthy lifestyle can do a lot for your baby, both before and after pregnancy. This is done by avoiding radiation and toxins, getting the vaccines you need, following a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.

4. Reduces Maternal and Child Mortality

Preconception care is a way to improve the health of the mother and her child. If a pregnant woman is sick and left unexamined, struggles from chronic stress, and has limited access to healthy foods, complications may arise, including death.

5. Prevents Complications During Pregnancy and Delivery

Preventing diseases and managing risk factors are some of the goals of preconception care. Pregnancy complications can be caused by anemia, high blood pressure, and diabetes. In diabetes, it may require a multidisciplinary team that includes a diabetes specialist, an internist, or a family doctor who is a diabetes expert.

You may need other health experts like an obstetrician with expertise in high-risk pregnancy management, a nurse, dietitian, social worker, and other necessary specialists.

6. Prevents Preterm Birth, Stillbirths, and Low Birth Weight

Stillbirth means the death of a baby in the mother’s womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can result from high blood pressure, placenta or umbilical cord problems, birth defects, infections, and poor lifestyle choices. On the other hand, preterm birth refers to the birth of a baby before completing 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Improving your health through preconception care before pregnancy lessens the risks of stillbirths, preterm birth, and low birth weight.

7. Prevents Underweight and Stunting

Stunting is the impaired development and growth of a child due to repeated infection, poor nutrition, and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. According to studies, children of young mothers with repeated pregnancies tend to experience stunting. 

Preconception care tries to address these problems by promoting reproductive planning and preventing unintended or unplanned pregnancies.

Do All Women Need Preconception Care?

Preconception care can be beneficial for all women regardless of whether they intend to have children in the future. Improving preconception health isn’t just for women who want to conceive, but it also promotes their overall health and well-being throughout their lives. 

If you plan to learn all aspects of fertility and preconception health, there are fertility online courses that you can access anywhere you are. Just ensure to check courses that are credible and safe from reliable sources.