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Understanding Preconception Health

Preconception health is a set of interventions that aim to identify and modify biomedical, behavioral, and social risks to a woman’s health or pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.  Certain steps should be taken before conception, or early in pregnancy, to have a maximal effect on health outcomes for the mother and baby.  Preconception health should include the full scope of preventive and primary health care services for women before a first pregnancy or between pregnancies.  These services should include risk assessment or screening, interventions including education and/or counseling, and appropriate referrals. 

The following should be addressed at health care visits:

  • Diet/Nutrition
  • Obesity
  • Exercise
  • Use of Folic Acid
  • Smoking
  • Use of Drugs/Medications
  • Alcohol Use
  • Medical Conditions
  • Dental Health
  • Immunizations
  • Family Health
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
  • Emotional Health
  • Domestic Violence
  • Family Planning Needs

Visit the March of Dimes website at for more information regarding preconception health.