Planning for Pregnancy Improves Chances Of Healthy Babies

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Personal health behaviors and family history have a significant impact on the potential for a healthy pregnancy, yet very few women receive preconception counseling before becoming pregnant, according to a recent study conducted by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

OSDH officials utilized the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), a statewide random survey, to look at the issue of preconception counseling. According to a review of survey data from 2004-2005, 86.5 percent of Oklahoma women of childbearing age did not receive any preconception counseling before becoming pregnant. This finding is not much different from a similar study conducted by the agency on PRAMS survey data collected in 2002-2003 that found 84.5 percent of women of childbearing age did not receive counseling on preparing for a healthy pregnancy.

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"Preconception counseling provides great value in helping assure a healthy baby," said Secretary of Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. "While there are factors that influence the lack of preconception counseling, such as lack of health insurance, clearly more could be done to communicate to health care providers and women of childbearing age the importance of preconception counseling."

Some highlights of the PRAMS survey on preconception counseling include the following:

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