A woman’s health before pregnancy is called preconception health (PCH). By improving her health before becoming pregnant, a woman can be better prepared for pregnancy and be as healthy as possible during and after pregnancy. Getting healthier involves taking steps, such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and addressing chronic health conditions, e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure.The main goal of PCH is to provide health promotion and education, screening for diseases, and medical care for women of childbearing age (18-44 years) to improve their health and to address factors that might affect future pregnancies (CDC, 2009).
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Women of childbearing age may have health conditions and risk factors that affect their well-being and, should they become pregnant, the well-being of their infant. By addressing health conditions and risk factors before pregnancy, women can improve their likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) are among the medical conditions that impact pregnancy outcomes by increasing risk factors for disease and complications among women of childbearing age (D'Angelo D, et al., 2007; CDC, 2012; CDC, 2011; Chaterjee S, 2008).