The health of a woman and her partner prior to pregnancy
Case Study 2
The health of a woman and her partner prior to pregnancy are of utmost importance for a healthy fetus. When a woman and her partner are healthy prior to pregnancy, unintended or planned, the woman and her fetus have a better chance at a healthy gestation. Preconception health care can be incorporated into every visit with all women of reproductive age who are not pregnant. It is a primary intervention that benefits reproductive-age women and their potential children. The goal of preconception care is health education and promotion, risk assessment, and intervention before pregnancy to reduce the chances of poor perinatal outcomes (Fowler et al., 2021). The Centers for Disease and Control established goals and evidence-based guidelines for preconception care as followed: The health of a woman and her partner prior to pregnancy
- Make a plan: Setting goals and planning how to achieve those goals. Family planning and pregnancy prevention is key to pregnancy readiness.
- See a primary care physician annually: Any woman with a chronic disease should review her desire to become pregnant with her PCP. The doctor will review any previous pregnancy problems, current medication regimen, vaccinations and steps that should be taken prior to pregnancy.
- Take Folic acid daily: Early use of Folic acid prevents neural tube defects. According to the CDC, if a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
- Smoking cessation and stop drinking excessive amounts of alcohol: Smoking, drinking alcohol and using certain drugs can negatively affect the pregnancy. Termination of these activities prevents the occurrence of premature birth, birth defects and infant death.
- Avoid toxic substances: Toxins with potential impact on reproductive health include lead, arsenic, fluoride, toluene, flame retardants, plastics, and pesticides (Fowler et al., 2021). These substances can hurt the reproductive systems of men and women and make it more difficult to get pregnant.
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is associated with multiple perinatal risks including increased risk for gestational diabetes, hypertension, congenital heart disease in the fetus and a higher risk of difficult deliveries, cesarean section, and complications of delivery.
- Get help for violence: Violence screening and getting help is an extremely important preconception. Violence can lead to injury and death and lifelong physical and emotional scars. During pregnancy, violence increases the chances for injury to the uterus, miscarriage, stillbirth preterm delivery.
- Learn your family history: Collecting a thorough family history can identify whether there is a higher risk for disease for mother or baby. A complete family history should include information about the mother, father and both of their families.
- Mental health: Parental mental health before and during pregnancy has been known to influence the development of offspring. If mental health is of concern, one should seek professional help.
- Plan the pregnancy: Promote family planning services. Once you are pregnant, it is important to continue healthy habits and continue regular doctor visits throughout the pregnancy.
Ensuring preconception health is a great way to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and to create a healthy family. The CDC’s guidelines focus on screening, health promotion and interventions to support a healthy pregnancy. Preconception counseling must focus on optimizing both primary and secondary prevention, treatment compliance, and improving overall well-being prior to becoming pregnant (Fowler et al., 2021). Pregnancy readiness and a planned pregnancy is the optimal goal.
Cultural Influence on Growth and Development
Growth and development is a complex process that is influenced by many factors including culture. At the age at which a child is expected to master certain developmental tasks is determined partly by cultural expectations (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). Through culture, children gain a sense of identity, a feeling of belonging, and beliefs about what is important in life, what is right and wrong, how to care for themselves and others, and what to celebrate, eat and wear. Based on cultural background, achieving developmental milestones may vary.
Preventing Infant Injury
Unintentional injuries in infants have been shown to be reduced with better knowledge and practices on infant safety. Educational intervention for parents include ways to prevent falls, burns, swallowing or choking of foreign objects and suffocation. Babies wiggle and move and push against things with their feet soon after they are born. Never leave an infant unattended on a raised surface that has no guardrails (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). The safest place for an infant is the floor. Burns are the most frequent accidents during infancy. Fires, hot liquids, ultraviolet light from the sun, electricity and heating elements can all cause burns (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). Babies explore their environment by putting anything and everything into their mouths. Small objects should never be left in the baby’s reach. All solid foods should be cut into small, thin pieces to prevent choking. Choking is the leading cause of unintentional death in infants (Edelman & Kudzma, 2018). To prevent possible suffocation and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), infants should always sleep on their back. The crib should have no pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers or loose bedding. When childproofing the home, remove any heavy, sharp, or breakable objects anywhere the infant has access to. Bolt heavy furniture to the wall and secure all cords to prevent appliances from being pulled down. Store potentially toxic substances out of sight and reach from the infant and buy bottles with childproof lids. Never leave the child on high surfaces unattended and avoid leaving an infant in the bathtub alone. Install child proof latches on drawers and cupboards and always be mindful of small objects left around the infant that can be swallowed. Most unintentional injuries are preventable and happen often because parents are not aware of what their children can do. Parental education is essential for infant safety and injury prevention.
Edelman, C., & Kudzma, E. (2018). Health Promotion Throughout the Life Span. Elsevier.
Fowler JR, Mahdy H, Jack BW. (2021). Preconception Counseling. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441880/