May 14-20 is National Women’s Health Week! Marissa Goldman-Halpin, LCSW, Manager of Women’s Health Services at Neponset Health Center, talks about the significance of preconception health.
Why is preconception health so important? Research explains that unplanned pregnancies are at greater risk of preterm births and low birth weight babies. Furthermore, despite important advances in medicine and prenatal care, about 1 in 8 babies is born too early. So, how do we prevent preterm births and babies born with low birth weights? At the Women’s Health Department of the Neponset Health Center, support staff and providers are taking action on health issues as well as risks before pregnancies by providing tailored services aimed at preventing problems that might affect women and their babies later on. In addition to the ongoing relationship and contract with the Action for Boston and Community Development, Neponset Health Center also has been awarded two grants through Tufts Hospital that provides case management, outreach, and educational support services that are known to be effective with improving maternal and health outcomes, reducing low birth weights, and eliminating preterm deaths all together.
Within the health center, family planning counselors and providers assist with delivering services that educate women around healthy practices, prior to conception. Through these initiatives, and a shift in providing perinatal services before, during, and after, a woman gets pregnant, trends leading to low birth weights and preterm deaths have proven to decrease. Additionally, for those who are seeking pregnancies, or currently pregnant, nutritional, case management, behavioral health, and other non-ancillary services can be utilized. For those who are seeking pregnancy, and are sexually active and not using birth control, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor about your preconception health now. Preconception care should begin at least three months before you get pregnant. But, also remember that some women need more time to get their bodies ready for pregnancy.
To schedule a family planning, preconception health, or prenatal visit, at Neponset Health Center, please contact the Women’s Health department directly at 617-533-2288.
Marissa Goldman-Halpin, LCSW
Manager for the Women’s Health Department