Preconception/Interconception Care is one of the three core priorities that the Illinois Chapter is focusing on during 2013-2015. Preconception health refers to the health and well-being of individuals of reproductive age, prior to pregnancy. Interconception care focuses on the period of time between pregnancies.
By addressing the health and well-being of women during the pre/interconception period, including health behaviors and chronic conditions, not only can the health of an individual improve, but pregnancy and birth outcomes can also improve.
Within the spectrum of recommendations for pre/interconception health care, during 2013-2015, the March of Dimes will focus on addressing smoking and overweight/obesity among women of reproductive age through two strategies:
Smoking during pregnancy increases a baby’s risk of being born too soon. Knowing smoking is harmful is one thing. Knowing how to quit for 39 weeks and not to start smoking again after the baby is born is another. Our grants help pregnant women to quit smoking and to remain quitters. This can make an impact beyond pregnancy: a non-smoking household means babies can develop without the risks associated with second-hand smoke. It also means moms have a lower risk of lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses.
About 1 in 4 women of reproductive age is obese and about 1 in 5 pregnant women is obese (March of Dimes, CDC). In Illinois, 28.2% of adults are obese (CDC, 2012). Women who are overweight are at greater risk for preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm labor during pregnancy, and their baby is at greater risk for obesity during childhood. Additionally, research has shown that pregnant women who are obese are at greater risk for maternal mortality (Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine, Kavanaugh, 2012).
Becoming a Mom/Comenzando Bien®
Becoming a MomTM/Comenzando Bien® is a bilingual curriculum designed for pregnant women to learn in a supportive group setting about having a healthy pregnancy. This unique curriculum includes appendices with information tailored to specific racial/ethnic groups including Hispanic, African American, and American Indian/Alaska Native. The goals of the curriculum include:
- Teaching women about having a healthy pregnancy
- Creating supportive environments that promote healthy behaviors and positive birth outcomes
- Helping participants overcome barriers to care and become assertive and informed consumers of prenatal care services.
- Evaluating and produce positive knowledge-based and behavioral changes in participants
- Promoting social support through mutual interaction among and between participants and facilitators