Preconception Care – WHO Report

Preconception care, a multi-sector approach, ensuring universal access

A new World Health Organisation (WHO) report shows that preconception care has a positive impact on maternal and child health outcomes. Download pdf

Addressed primarily at health professionals responsible for developing national and local health policies, the report provides a foundation for implementing a package of promotive, preventive and curative health interventions shown to have been effective in improving maternal and child health.

A wide range of sectors and stakeholders needs to be engaged to ensure universal access to preconception care.

The report also guides non-health sectors, foundations and civil society organizations to collaborate with, and support, public health policy-makers to maximize gains for maternal and child health through preconception care.

What is preconception care, and what is its aim?

‘Preconception care is the provision of biomedical, behavioural and social health interventions to women and couples before conception occurs. It aims at improving their health status, and reducing behaviours and individual and environmental factors that contribute to poor maternal and child health outcomes. Its ultimate aim is to improve maternal and child health, in both the short and long term.

Opportunities to prevent and control diseases occur at multiple stages of life; strong public health programmes that use a life-course perspective from infancy through childhood and adolescence to adulthood are needed.

Preconception care contributes to these efforts. Even if preconception care aims primarily at improving maternal and child health, it brings health benefits to the adolescents, women and men, irrespective of their plans to become parents.’

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