- In This Feature
- Why Prepare before a Pregnancy?
- What Factors Should We Consider to Prepare for Conception?
- Preconception Care Checklist
- Fertility Prediction
- Family Planning Boards
Why Prepare before a Pregnancy?
Most prospective parents take the process of procreation for granted as natural and practically automatic. The idea of consciously preparing for conception and pregnancy is a rather recent phenomenon, but well worth the effort.
Preconception care encompasses the health services provided to women and men of reproductive age in preparation for a future pregnancy. Preconception care provides a window of opportunity to optimize both partners' health and identify any risks and take steps to reduce them.
Many of the recommendations included in preconception preparation can be done by the individual or in concert with a healthcare professional, including your own OB-GYN, or programs that specialize in this type of care.
Research has shown that every aspect of our reproduction is adversely affected in some way by our 21st century lifestyle and living conditions. The food you eat, the environment you live in, and the lifestyle you lead in the months before you conceive a child can have profound effects on the well being of your baby. Preconception healthcare can help prevent miscarriage, stillbirths, premature births, and congenital abnormalities, and can enhance fertility even with couples who have had difficulty conceiving on their own. In addition, preconception care can allow women to have a healthier pregnancy, recover more quickly after birth, and decrease your child's risk for certain adult health problems.
Large numbers of studies with animals show that when either parent is deficient in one or a number of essential nutrients, the offspring will be miscarried or will suffer from a variety of malformations. These malformations, which in the past were believed to be genetic, can be manipulated in the lab by inducing a deficiency or deficiencies in one or more of the essential vitamins and minerals.
All this means there are many things you can do to improve your physical health and psychological readiness in the critical six- to 12-month period before conception.