A Family Planning Program priority is to emphasize the importance of counseling family planning clients on establishing a reproductive life plan, and providing preconception counseling as a part of family planning services, as appropriate. (http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familyplanning/policyplanningeval/programpriorities/index.html)
Preconception health is a woman's health before she becomes pregnant and focuses on conditions and risk factors that could affect a woman or her unborn baby if she becomes pregnant. Preconception care seeks to identify clients with risk factors (such as overweight/obesity, diabetes, low folic acid intake, smoking or alcohol use, etc.) that must be acted on before conception in order to prevent fertility problems and reduce health problems of the mother and baby. By taking action on health issues and risks before pregnancy, you can prevent problems that might affect you or your baby later.
Preconception care is recognized as a critical component of health care for women of reproductive age. The main goal of preconception care is to provide health promotion, counseling, screening and interventions for women of reproductive age to reduce risk factors that might affect future pregnancies. The following links offer information and recommendations for improving preconception health:
http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/preconception/default.htm (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconception_care.cfm (National Institutes of Health)
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/preconceptioncare.html (National Library of Medicine)