Preconception years are the years where you could get pregnant, choose to get pregnant, or are in between pregnancies. The goal of preconception health is to prevent or treat conditions and behaviors that could pose a risk to a woman or her baby. By taking care of your self and planning your pregnancy, you will have a healthier pregnancy and you will give your baby the best start of a healthy life.
While a baby's health is most strongly linked to the mother's health before pregnancy, preconception health is not only important for women. The health of a man also affects his ability to have healthy children.
The first step of taking charge of your life is to create a life plan. Ask yourself and your partner these four questions:
Do you wish to have any (more) children?
If so, when do you want to become pregnant? If not, can I help you choose a contraceptive that best meets your long-range reproductive goals?
How many children do you wish to have? If you have children, do you hope to have more children?
How long do you plan with wait until you (next) become pregnant? How can I help you achieve your goals?
There are specific steps men and women can take today to improve the health of future pregnancies. Learn more about making a Reproductive Life Plan and the steps you can take to achieve a Healthy Body, a Healthy Mind, a Healthy Environment at www.everywomancalifornia.org or en Español www.cadamujercadadia.org.
For facts about birth defects and how to prevent them, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/facts.html