Interconception is the time between the end of one pregnancy and the beginning of the next one, when the mother and father should make sure they are in good health before becoming pregnant again. It is also a time to identify those women who might have a poor birth outcome. This includes women who had a low birth weight baby, who had a miscarriage or a stillbirth, or who had a baby born with birth defects. The goal of interconception care is to take steps to improve the outcome for the next pregnancy.
BEFORE BECOMING PREGNANT AGAIN
Both mother and father should make sure they are as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant again. It is also important for a woman to give her body time to recover after a birth, and time to adjust to being a mother of a newborn before becoming pregnant again. Studies have shown that getting pregnant again too quickly may increase the risk of a preterm birth or a low weight baby. The optimal time to wait before becoming pregnant again is 12-18 months. To read more about the optimal time to wait before becoming pregnant again, go to:
PLAN THE TIMING OF YOUR PREGNANCIES!
To learn about how to avoid becoming pregnant before you are ready, go to Planned Parenthood’s page on family planning: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy
WHO SHOULD RECEIVE INTERCONCEPTION CARE?
There is no way to ensure that every baby is born healthy, but some factors may put you at risk of a poor birth outcome. Some of these factors include:
Any woman who has any of the above risk factors should get care between pregnancies. Studies show that women who had poor pregnancy outcomes in previous births are at risk for having them again.
INTERCONCEPTION HEALTH CARE
Health care providers and case managers can assess your risk and help you get the care you need before becoming pregnant again, so that you have the best chance for staying healthy yourself and for delivering a healthy baby. Interconception health care includes:
PRECONCEPTION SCREENING TOOL
Preconception health (before pregnancy health) is very important and can affect the health of your future baby. By making a plan before getting pregnant and taking the time to get healthy, you can take steps to a healthier you and baby-to-be. Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for information to help you do that: https://www.cdc.gov/preconception/index.html
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SOURCE: HealthyWomen.org; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Planned Parenthood; March of Dimes
PREPARED BY: 211/mm
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: February2023