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 find 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
BEFORE BECOMING PREGNANT AGAIN
Both mother and father should make sure they are
as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant
again. Read about preparing
for pregnancy here.
It is also important for a woman to give your
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: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control-4211.htm
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
- You had a previous live birth at less than 37
- You had a previous live birth where the baby
did not grow enough during the pregnancy.
- You had a baby born with a birth defect.
- You had a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
- You have any type of chronic disease,
regardless of the outcome of a previous
- You have a history of sexually transmitted
- You smoke, drink, use illegal drugs, or use
prescription drugs that may be harmful to a
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 health yourself
and for delivering a healthy baby. Interconception
health care includes:
- Nutrition counseling
- Treatment of diseases and chronic health
- Assessment of environmental risk factors
- Help with smoking cessation and avoidance of
drugs and alcohol
- Genetic counseling
- Family planning counseling and prescriptions
to avoid becoming pregnant again too soon.
PRECONCEPTION SCREENING TOOL
The March of Dimes offers a free Screening Tool
that women can fill out and discuss with their
healthcare provider. You can find the form at: http://www.marchofdimes.com/files/preconception_tool_ed.pdf
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SOURCE: March of Dimes, National
Women’s Health Resource Center
PREPARED BY: 211/lb
CONTENT LAST REVIEWED: February2012