Preconception Care And Family Planning Services
PRECONCEPTION CARE AND FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES
While most women are seen in family planning clinics with the intent of avoiding pregnancy, there are distinct opportunities to provide education and counseling regarding a healthy pregnancy, if and when the client chooses to become pregnant in the future. Family PACT has adopted the following policies, which are based upon 2006 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Preconception care is a set of interventions focusing on health promotion and disease prevention in women of childbearing age, aiming to improve the health status of both the woman and her fetus/newborn. It recognizes the importance of a woman’s health and lifestyle before conception.
Birth spacing is crucial due to the correlation between a shortened inter-pregnancy interval (less than 18 months) and increased medical risks for both the mother and child. Family planning care, including effective contraceptive use until the intended next pregnancy, plays a vital role in addressing this concern.
A reproductive life plan is a set of personal goals related to having (or not having) children, based on personal values and resources, with a plan to achieve those goals. It includes questions about the desire for children, the timing of pregnancies, the spacing between pregnancies, and strategies to achieve those plans.
In preconception care, discussions included a review of current and past medical conditions, infectious diseases, immunizations, teratogen exposure, genetic issues, nutrition, domestic violence, smoking and alcohol use, substance abuse, psychosocial issues, and financial planning.
Recommendations during preconception care included daily use of folic acid (0.4 mg tablets) at least three months prior to conception, advising smoking cessation for smokers, advising women attempting pregnancy to minimize alcohol consumption, and initiating folate and ceasing alcohol and cigarette use after a positive pregnancy test.
Additional advice included deferring sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening, including HIV screening, until initiation of prenatal care, reminding diabetic women of the importance of blood sugar control before pregnancy, confirming a relationship with a primary care physician for diabetes management, and screening for Type II diabetes in women with specific risk factors before pregnancy.