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What Is Preconception Health and Why Does It Matter?

What Is Preconception Health and Why Does It Matter?

Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep, having regular checkups, and being physically active can contribute to good health throughout our lives. But if you’re ready to start a family, taking care of your health is even more important. Let’s dive into what preconception health is and how taking control of it could benefit you now and in the future.

What is preconception health?

The health of women and men during their reproductive years is considered preconception health. Preconception health care focuses on health, lifestyle behaviors, family and medical history, and risk factors that may impact conception, pregnancy, and the health of the mom and baby.

Preconception health care and why it’s important

Whether you're planning to conceive now or down the road, it's never too early to work on optimizing your health for fertility, conception, and pregnancy. The first few weeks of pregnancy are critical to the baby's development—before you may even know you're pregnant. Preconception care helps set the stage for a healthy pregnancy right from the start.

Improves chances for a healthy pregnancy and baby

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preconception care can improve birth outcomes, including reducing the number of babies born prematurely or who have low birth weights. 1

Helps you get your body baby-ready

Preconception health can help you prepare your body for conception, pregnancy, and beyond.

Identifies risks

Your doctor may identify conditions or risk factors that could possibly affect a future pregnancy and provide early intervention if necessary.

Benefits men, too

It can help men understand what they need to do to stay healthy and support their partner's health and well-being.

Preconception care to-dos

Make a preconception doctor visit

Thinking about getting pregnant? Share your plans with your healthcare provider. At your preconception visit, you’ll probably discuss your current contraception methods, medical and family history, prescription medications, and any risk factors that could be a concern.

If you have a medical condition or chronic disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a seizure disorder, your doctor can help you carefully manage or treat your condition before, during, and after pregnancy.

Consider lifestyle changes

Now is an optimal time to consider curtailing activities that could negatively affect fetal development, like smoking, recreational drug use, and alcohol consumption.

Maintain a healthy weight and diet

A nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid certain pregnancy complications. You may also want to think about supplementing your diet with nutrients such as folate, which according to the U.S. Public Health Service, may help reduce a baby’s risk of neural tube congenital disabilities such as spina bifida. 2

More preconception health resources

Priming your body for pregnancy with these preconception health strategies can help improve your chances for a healthy baby. Explore our Tips and Resources section for more baby planning articles and videos, including:

As you take this initial first step toward pregnancy, Enfamil is with you. We understand that everyone's journey is different. We're happy to provide educational resources to help support you through whichever path leads you to parenthood.

1hRecommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care --- United States

2 Preconception Nutrition