Preconception health refers to the health of women and men before and in between pregnancies and aims to identify and modify biomedical, social, and behavioural risks to health with the aim of improving the individual’s health and that of their future children.
Challenges to improving preconception health include a lack of knowledge of the importance of good preconception health, the significant proportion of pregnancies that are unplanned and the inequity that women and men may experience in their access to health care and actualising effective health behaviour change.
Health care providers and health promotion encounter challenges with the breadth of health topics relevant to preconception care, how to effectively package bundles of relevant information in an engaging and motivating manner and how to feel comfortable in raising and discussing these issues.
In a broader context it is important that the reproductive health of individuals is seen as important in its own right and not only in terms of their future children. This extends to ensuring a safe and satisfying sexual life, the ability to reproduce if and when wanted and progressing in good health across the reproductive life course.
This presentation will discuss what we can do in health policy, health promotion and individual health care to address optimising reproductive health for all and enable improved preconception health.