Essence of preconception counseling and care

Soon Cheol Hong, June Seek Choi, Jung Yeol Han, Alejandro A. Nava-Ocampo, Gideon Koren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the 1980's, prenatal care for pregnant women and their babies has improved maternal and neonatal health. However, despite prenatal care, the rate of some complications, such as major fetal anomalies, preterm labor, and low birth weight have not improved. Only 10.3% of Korean women of childbearing age take folic acid supplementation and approximately 14% still consume alcohol during pregnancy. Because in Korea about 50% of pregnancies are unintended, those women have higher exposure rates to alcohol, drugs, and ionizing radiation. Because most fetal anomalies occur between 5 to 10 gestational weeks, the initial prenatal care provided at 7 to 8 gestational weeks is too late to prevent fetal anomalies. Preconception care may identify and modify adverse health, behavioral, and social outcomes for women and their unborn babies. Recently, a number of preconception interventions have been reported to have evidence-based effectiveness in improving pregnancy outcomes. These include folic acid supplementation, avoiding alcohol intake, smoking cessation, counseling on potentially teratogenic drugs, infection control, immunizations, and control of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, obesity. For the improvement of maternal and fetal health, guidelines for preconception care must be developed in Korea. All health care providers should understand the clinical importance of evidence-based preconception care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)799-807
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Korean Medical Association
Volume54
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Chronic disease
  • Folic acid
  • Preconception care
  • Teratogens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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