Preconception and Intrapartum Health

Key Points

• Oral folic acid supplementation before conception prevents neural tube defects.

• All pregnant women should be offered prenatal screening for trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and neural tube defects.

• Pregnant women should be counseled against using tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs.

• Routine prenatal screening for group B streptococcal colonization significantly reduces early-onset neonatal GBS infection.

• Preexisting maternal illness (e.g., diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, hypertension) should be monitored closely during pregnancy.

A healthy newborn baby begins with a healthy pregnant mother. Family physicians are in the unique position of caring for women as they plan their families, during pregnancy, during childbirth, and after their infant is born. Preconception and intrapartum health care increase the likelihood of delivering a happy and healthy newborn.

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