Preconception health refers to the health of women and men during their reproductive years, which are the years they can have a child. It focuses on taking steps now to protect the health of a baby they might have in the future.
Women and men can benefit from preconception health, whether or not they plan to have a baby one day. This is because part of preconception health is about getting and staying healthy. In addition, no one expects an unplanned pregnancy, but it happens often.
Preconception health care is different for every person and depends on his or her needs. Your health care provider can suggest a course of treatment or follow-up care as needed.
Preconception health is important for every woman―not just those planning pregnancy. It means taking control of your health by choosing healthy habits and living well. Preconception health is about making a plan for the future and taking the steps to get there. Talk to your provider about what you need to do to be ready for a healthy pregnancy.
Preconception health is important for men, too. It means choosing to get and stay as healthy as possible and helping others to do the same. As a partner, it means encouraging and supporting the health of your partner. As a father, it means caring for your child.
For babies, preconception health means their parents took steps to get healthy before pregnancy. Such babies are less likely to be born early (preterm) or have low birth weight. They are more likely to be born without birth defects or other disabling conditions. Preconception health gives babies the best gift of all―the best chance for a healthy start in life.