Contact the Maternal and Child Health Section
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A13
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1721
What is Preconception Health?
Preconception health refers to the health of women and men during their reproductive years. It is a time to focus on one’s health prior to having a baby.
I’m not planning on having a baby. Why should I be concerned about preconception health?
In Florida, it is estimated that 45 percent of all pregnancies are not planned. [Source: PRAMS 2012] Whether you plan to have a baby or not, preconception health is really about being healthy overall.
Every woman should have a reproductive life plan. When do you want to get pregnant? How many children do you want to have? Do you want more children? Do you want to go back to school or change careers before having another child? What can you do to reach these goals? Get started by using this checklist to help you set your goals.
How can smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs affect me having a baby?
Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using drugs during pregnancy could lead to serious birth defects for your baby if you have an unintended pregnancy. For more information, visit Substance Abuse During Pregnancy.
Should I be concerned about prescribed medication?
There are medications that can cause birth defects and other health problems in an unborn baby. Whether you are planning on becoming pregnant or not, if you are of childbearing age, you should talk to your health care provider about all of the medications you are taking including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. For more information, visit Treating for Two.
If I start making changes to be healthier as soon as I find out I am pregnant, will it be just as good as if I make those changes before I become pregnant?
Doing things like quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol as soon as you find out you are pregnant will greatly improve your baby’s health compared to not making changes at all. However, never exposing your baby to harmful substances, and being the healthiest you can be are the things you can do to improve your baby’s chances of having the best start possible.
How does a man’s health affect having a healthy baby?
Men should take steps to be healthier, too. Men can pass along sexually transmitted diseases to their partner and the unborn baby. They can pass along second hand smoke to their pregnant partner increasing the chance of delivering a low birth weight baby. Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs can affect a man's fertility. In addition, being exposed to certain toxic substances can affect his fertility, as well. For more information, visit Preconception Health - Information for Men.
For more information on preconception health, please visit Preconception Health - Before You Become Pregnant.
For more information on contraception, please visit What's Right For Me.
Baby Steps for a Healthy Pregnancy Videos
- Baby Steps Posters
- Every Woman Southeast Initiative
- Show Your Love Campaign
- CDC Resource Center
- Preconception Care Clinical Toolkit
The National Preconception Care Clinical Toolkit is designed to help primary care providers, their colleagues and their practices incorporate preconception health into the routine care of women of childbearing age.