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Med Clin North Am. 1996 Mar;80(2):337-74.

Preconception counseling for the primary care physician.

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Division of Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


All health care providers that interact with women of childbearing age should understand the potential benefits of preconception counseling and to approach the evaluation in a thorough manner during routine health maintenance visits. With the increased number of patients enrolled in managed care programs, health maintenance visits provide the unique opportunity to educate women contemplating pregnancy regarding the potential influences of their lifestyle and health status on the future pregnancy. It is becoming increasingly apparent that interventions made during the preconception period are just as crucial as the subsequent 9 months of prenatal care to achieve an optimal maternal-fetal outcome. Some guidelines for the preconception evaluation have been provided, and the implications of chronic medical illness on pregnancy have been discussed.

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