To have an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy baby, preparation needs to start before the pregnancy. Preconception care is becoming more important as many couples put off childbearing until they are in their 30s. Prepregnancy health status and lifestyles have an impact on the progress and outcome of your pregnancy.
Preconception care aims to identify and change medical, behavioural and social risks to your health or pregnancy outcome. The care usually involves risk screening, physical assessment, vaccinations and counselling. Your risk factors are evaluated in terms of your:
- Potential for inherited genetic diseases
- Exposure to environmental toxins and teratogens (factors that affect the development of the embryo)
- Nutritional status
- Use of tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs
- Medical conditions
- Exposure to infectious diseases and vaccination status
- Psychosocial concerns
The screening is designed to fully evaluate and prepare you and your partner for a healthy pregnancy. This is an opportunity to resolve any existing health issues.