Preconception care (PCC) seeks to educate and empower women to make choices that will optimize their health and the health of their future children.
When a woman is pregnant, her developing child is dependent upon her health and her environment - the things she eats, breathes and is surrounded by. These things will largely determine her child's health status at birth and going forward into the rest of his or her life. Nine months of a woman's life will have a profound impact on the life of her child.
Just as we know that exposure to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs can affect babies during pregnancy and after birth, so too can many other environmental factors. The recent scientific literature is now abundant with research detailing the effects that the environment of a mother can have on her developing child.
For example, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a leading medical journal, found that women who were exposed to and thus breathing organic solvents (chemicals such as benzene, xylene, toluene etc. often found in the workplace of healthcare and industry workers ) had a 13-fold increase in the incidence of birth defects and malformations. Another article by a renowned author in the U.K. named E.G. Knox found that women living near industry during their pregnancy (i.e. oil refineries, car factories, paint makers, railways, cement makers etc.) accounted for the majority of the excess cases of childhood cancer in their study. Moreover, a recent paper published in a major psychiatry journal found that many cases of autism, an increasingly common neurodevelopmental disorder, are the result of adverse environmental exposures. Based on this new, scientific information, it appears as though many of these major conditions can be prevented if there is sufficient awareness, and appropriate measures are taken to optimize a woman’s environment.
If you are planning to try and conceive in the next 1-2 years, preconception care is right for you - right now. Some of the suggested changes can take time to enact, so it is advised you learn the information now to be prepared for when you are ready.