The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recently published a paper calling for the incorporation of preconception care into patient visits.
Preconception care first become popular during the 1980s, when the Healthy People initiative concentrated on minimizing accidental pregnancies. Since that time, there has been a series of initiatives and reports that seek to encourage applying and integrating preconception care with primary care.
"With the United States ranking poorly on infant mortality and preterm birth rates, and preconception care having an impact on improving the health of the population, the AAFP stands strongly for integrating these concepts more fully into care delivery," Dr. David O'Gurek, chairman of the workgroup that created the paper, said.
Health officials maintain that all health care professionals and family physicians need to offer childbearing-age women preconception care. This should be done despite the fact that family physicians who offer obstetrical care and prenatal care are becoming harder to find.
"However, it's important to note that preconception care and its elements should really not be new to family physicians," O’Gurek said. "It's a genuine example of family-centered health care that provides evidence-based care to improve the chances of obtaining a healthy family. It truly represents delivery of preventive and chronic disease health care to patients of childbearing ages."