What Is Family Planning Services?
Family planning services are necessary for the widespread adoption of preconception care for two reasons. First, preconception care is more likely if pregnancies are planned, and family planning services encourage pregnancy planning. Second, family planning services usually include counseling, and counseling provides an opportunity to discuss the advantages of preconception care. However, the potential of family planning services to promote preconception care is limited by underutilization of these services and inadequate attention to preconception care during family planning visits. This article suggests ways to reduce these problems.
If all women of reproductive age, or at least those at elevated risk, are to benefit from preconception services, the use of family planning services must be increased and the content of such services expanded. Family planning services are essential for preconception care for at least two reasons.
First, in the absence of such services, pregnancies will occur that have not benefited from preconception care. Preconception care during the reproductive years is dependent on women and men planning their pregnancies, not only in respect to their timing but also to health-related factors that would maximize the chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy infant. In the absence of such care, offered by family planning services, many pregnancies will not benefit from preconception advice.