“(It) emphasizes proactive steps to improve overall health, safeguarding the well-being of potential future offspring. It recognizes the importance of fostering good health habits across the lifespan, even when planning for a family may seem distant,” CCCHD officials said. “As unexpected pregnancies are a reality, preconception health services play a crucial role in empowering individuals with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions.”
The introduction of preconception health services at the health district contributes to the goals outline in the Community Health Improvement Plan. It plays a pivotal role in reducing the rate of infant mortality from 7.4 to 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births and decreasing preterm births from 11.8% to 10.4% by Sept. 30, 2025, according to the CCCHD. It also complements initiatives by the Start Strong Coalition to reduce sleep-related infant deaths to zero and increase breastfeeding initiation rates.
The new services cater to reproductive age clients not currently pregnant but want to have children in the future. They include a variety of screening tools to that help access and optimize health, such as prostate specific antigen test, testosterone levels, hemoglobin A1C, comprehensive metabolic panel, basic metabolic panel, complete blood count and pregnancy quantitative.
The health district is also introducing new patient education tools, including ovulation kids for women accompanied by counseling; vaccinations and increased appointments for other recommended immunizations; and education sessions to cover topics such as health weight, diabetes, mental health and tobacco cessation.
In collaboration with the Start Strong Coalition, the CCCHD will host community education sessions and preconception health screening events, tentatively planned from January through March 2024, to provide evidence-based information on topics vital to community health.