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The preconception office visit

Joyce A Sackey, MD, FACP
Section Editor
Louise Wilkins-Haug, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Preconception care is a broad term that refers to the process of identifying social, behavioral, environmental, and biomedical risks to a woman's fertility and pregnancy outcome with the goal of reducing these risks through education, counseling, and appropriate intervention, [1,2].

There are several barriers to providing preconception care, including time constraints due to competing priorities within the practice setting, lack of health insurance or lack of adequate coverage for screening tests and counseling, and lack of resources for assisting in the delivery of information [3]. It is important to recognize that most women do not schedule a preconception care visit. Factors that facilitate provision of preconception care include the availability of preconception care screening tools; patient informational resources such as brochures and handouts; and waiting room posters outlining the benefits and availability of preconception care consultations.

This topic will discuss preconception care. Prenatal care is reviewed separately. (See "Prenatal care: Initial assessment" and "Prenatal care: Second and third trimesters".)


Preconception care should be an essential part of primary and preventive care for all women of childbearing age who present for a periodic health examination [1,4,5]. In addition to the periodic health evaluation, potential opportunities for preconception care occur during many nonemergency healthcare encounters, including:

Premarital office visit

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 25, 2017.
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