Monday, October 20, 2008
I was surprised to learn the term pre-conception care from Sarah Brown, co-founder of the National Campaign. When I was 26 and wanting to get pregnant with my first child, it never occurred to me to prepare myself physically like an athlete getting ready to run a marathon. I knew I needed to get prenatal care after I got pregnant: take a few vitamins and get monthly checkups. But thinking about whether I was healthy enough to bear a healthy child? It never occurred to me. I seemed healthy. I didn’t even have a doctor when I got married. The clinic where I got my birth control pills was my only healthcare. Sarah is right. Women who lack immunizations, have issues of alcoholism, drugs, obesity, or who have chronic diseases like diabetes, might have trouble birthing a healthy baby or might endanger her own health without pre-conception care. Having a health issue doesn’t mean a woman can’t give birth to a healthy baby, but it means women must be taught to plan and prepare for pregnancy; it shouldn’t take her by surprise.