Definition - What does Preconception mean?
Preconception is the timeframe before becoming pregnant. Some advanced planning before pregnancy can help a woman boost the odds of delivering a healthy baby.
FertilitySmarts explains Preconception
Preconception health care and planning are vital to the mother’s and child’s health. There are certain steps that a woman can take before conceiving:
1. Before getting pregnant, a woman can gradually cut out the habits that can be harmful to her and her baby. For instance:
- Cigarette smoking: It accounts for around 20% to 30% of low-birth-weight babies, about 14% of premature deliveries, and up to 10% of infant deaths according to the American Lung Association.
- Drinking alcohol: Alcohol is harmful to the baby and can lead to several birth defects.
- Caffeine: A few studies show a link between high caffeine intake, delayed pregnancy, and even infertility.
2. Talking to the doctor about the idea of getting pregnant is also favorable. The doctor may want to hash out and address any medical problems that could impact conception. Medication history also needs to be sorted out to determine which medications are safe to take immediately before and during the period of conception and which are not.
3. Proper nutrition is vital to a woman and her future baby’s health even during the preconception period. There is a high likelihood of becoming anemic during pregnancy; hence, introducing iron-rich foods during preconception can compensate for the drop in hemoglobin levels during pregnancy.
4. Taking folic acid at least 1-month prior to-and-then the entire pregnancy can help prevent birth defects involving the baby’s brain and spine.
5. It is helpful to keep track of menstrual cycles and ovulation (by using predictor kits), which help figure out the fertile window, thus increasing the probability of a successful pregnancy.