Does preconception health apply to women who do not plan to get pregnant?

Absolutely. Every woman should be thinking about her health, whether or not she wants to get pregnant. Some of the basic recommendations for preconception health include healthy weight and nutrition, and identifying and managing existing conditions and infections. All women should quit smoking and avoid other harmful substances. These are important health goals for everyone, not just women planning to get pregnant.

Since very early fetal development can occur before a woman knows she is pregnant, it is important to stay healthy, even before you are sure you are pregnant.  It is important to avoid risks, such as using medications that could harm a fetus, whenever possible.

The CDC recommends that men and women think about a reproductive life plan. This means deciding the ideal time and conditions for having children and learning how to achieve these goals.  Women’s lives are rich and complex, and the possibility of pregnancy is only one factor affecting women’s health choices. The more that women know about the health care relevant to their own circumstances, the more empowered they are to make the right choices for their lives.  Read our article on Age and Fertility.