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Interconception Health: Improving Equitable Access to Pregnancy Planning

Abstract

Challenges remain with the implementation of preconception care, as many women do not plan their pregnancies and clinicians do not initiate preconception consultations. However, the interconception period may present a more opportune time to address health issues that impact on pregnancy outcomes and may influence future conceptions. It is also an important time to focus on pregnancy complications that may influence a person’s health trajectory. This review discusses the evidence pointing to a need for greater attention on interconception health and focuses on five areas of care that may be particularly important in affecting equitable access to good care before a subsequent pregnancy: interpregnancy intervals, contraception, weight, nutrition, and gestational diabetes follow-up. Several programs internationally have developed models of care for interconception health and this review presents one such model developed in the United States that explicitly seeks to reach vulnerable populations of women who may otherwise not receive preconception care.

Authors: Kirsten I. Black, MBBS, MMed, FRANZCOG, PhD, FFSRH, DDU, Philippa Middleton, BSc(Hons) GradDip LibSt, MPH, PhD, Tanvir M. Huda, MBBS, MSPH, MSc, MBA, PhD, Sukanya Srinivasan, MD, MPH

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