Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Women’s Health

pp 1048-1050

Preconception Care

  • Keith A. Frey

Preconception care is the promotion of the health and well-being of a woman and her partner before pregnancy. The optimal time to identify, manage, and treat many potential pregnancy conditions and complications is before pregnancy occurs. The goal of a preconception office visit with a primary care doctor is to identify and assess those medical and social conditions that may put the mother and her baby at risk. The benefits of intentionally preparing for a pregnancy relate to the important and critical period of fetal organ development that occurs in the first 10 weeks after fertilization. The traditional first prenatal visit is too late to impact on pregnancy complications impacted by prescription and nonprescription drugs, alcohol, and poor diet.

The Preconception History

The primary care physician will want to approach the preconception evaluation systematically. A woman should come to a preconception office visit prepared to discuss the following aspects of ...

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