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The reasons why good pre-conception care is important

In this section you will learn about why good pre-conception care is important.  

‘Pregnancy by choice and not by chance’

The need for quality maternity care and support during the first years of life is well recognized. But there is less recognition of the importance of optimizing the health and wellbeing of women and their partner before pregnancy.

There is a clear link between a mother’s health before pregnancy, the risks she is exposed to or exposes herself to, and her baby’s health. Healthy women generally have fewer complications in pregnancy and are more likely to have healthy babies who grow into healthy children. However, 45% of pregnancies are unplanned or associated with feelings of ambivalence and even amongst those who do plan their pregnancy, a relatively small proportion of women currently modify behaviours’ pre-pregnancy. Women do not necessarily consult a health professional before becoming pregnant and may therefore not be aware of the need to or how to reduce any potential risks.

What is preconception care? 

Preconception care (or pregnancy planning) should provide universal support for all women as many of the recommendations are those for healthy living irrespective of their plans to become pregnant.

Preconception discussions can also identify couples with medical, psychological or social concerns who can benefit from additional targeted support.

  • Preconception care allows any physical and mental health condition and social needs to be identified and optimized before pregnancy.   
  • It allows women and their partners to consider the timing of the pregnancy and whether socially and financially they are in the best place and time. 
  • It enables women to be aware of any potential risks and any options to manage these risks by making informed decisions 
  • Many of the problems in pregnancy are identifiable before conception 
  • However it must be recognized that not all risks can be managed and some pregnancy related problems are unpredictable. 


  • Why do you think women and their partners do not consider the need to plan their pregnancy?
  • What opportunities do you have in your work and networks to improve the recognition of this important opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of future generations?