All men and women need to know about preconception (pre-pregnancy) health measures before a pregnancy occurs. Women can follow preconception health recommendations to be in the best possible health before getting pregnant to improve her chances of having a healthy baby. A medical visit for preconception care and health guidance is recommended and includes a thorough medical history, examination, laboratory screening, updating immunizations and counseling. Preconception health services are available through your local health department.
Among the preconception health recommendations for women is a well-balanced diet that includes 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects of the spine and brain. All women of childbearing age, especially those planning a pregnancy, should follow this dietary recommendation.
Spacing pregnancies at least two years apart is recommended for the health of mother and child. Birth control pills are not the only reliable method of contraception. Many other methods are also available to help you plan for your children. Your local health department family planning clinic nurse can discuss different available birth control methods.
The decision whether or not to have sex with someone is your choice. Having sex because you're afraid you may be harmed in some way if you don't is considered coercion and not consent. Coersion and manipulation to persuade someone to have sex can take many forms. Common verbal manipulation tactics include statements such as, "I know you really want to," "You would if you loved me," "If you don’t, I will..." "You owe it to me," "No one else wants you but me," etc. Forced sex is sexual assault or rape. Talk to an adult you trust if you ever fear being forced to have sex. Confidential help is available.