Information for Health Professionals Recommendations
The goal of the 10 preconception health and health care recommendations is to improve the health of women, men, and couples, before conception of a first or subsequent pregnancy.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed these recommendations based on a review of published research and the opinions of specialists from the CDC/ATSDR Preconception Care Work Group and the Select Panel on Preconception Care.
The recommendations are aimed at achieving four goals to:
- Improve the knowledge and attitudes and behaviors of men and women related to preconception health
- Assure that all women of childbearing age in the United States receive preconception care services (e.g., evidence-based risk screening, health promotion, and interventions) that will enable them to enter pregnancy in optimal health
- Reduce risks indicated by a previous adverse pregnancy outcome through interventions during the interconception period, which can prevent or minimize health problems for a mother and her future children
- Reduce the disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes
- Individual Responsibility Across the Life Span
Each woman, man, and couple should be encouraged to have a reproductive life plan.
- Consumer Awareness
Increase public awareness of the importance of preconception health behaviors and preconception care services by using information and tools appropriate across various ages; literacy, including health literacy; and cultural/linguistic contexts.
- Preventive Visits
As a part of primary care visits, provide risk assessment and educational and health promotion counseling to all women of childbearing age to reduce reproductive risk and improve pregnancy outcomes.
- Interventions for Identified Risks
Increase the proportion of women who receive interventions as follow up to preconception risk screening, focusing on high priority interventions (i.e., those with evidence of effectiveness and greatest potential impact).
- Interconception Care
Use the interconception period to provide additional intensive interventions to women who have had a previous pregnancy that ended in an adverse outcome (e.g., infant death, fetal loss, birth defects, low birthweight or preterm birth).
- Pre-Pregnancy Check-Ups
Offer, as a component of maternity care, one pre-pregnancy visit for couples and persons planning pregnancy.
- Health Insurance Coverage Women with Low Incomes
Increase public and private health insurance coverage for women with low incomes to improve access to preventive women’s health and preconception and interconception care.
- Public Health Programs and Strategies
Integrate components of preconception health into existing local public health and related programs, including emphasis on interconception interventions for women with previous adverse outcomes.
Increase the evidence base and promote the use of evidence to improve preconception health.
- Monitoring improvements
Maximize public health surveillance and related research mechanisms to monitor preconception health.