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I'm pre-pregnant!

Holy shit. This is so-o-o-o-o weird, and freaky, and disturbing.

From the Washington Post:
"New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

"Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

"While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed."

(see the whole article here.)

I mean...are they serious? And are they even aware that some women don't ever plan on having children? Or do they think they'll find a nice man and change their minds?

On the bright side, I did find out about this through tamnonlinear's reaction, which is brilliant and made me *splorf* violently, especially since I had no idea what it was about.


( 20 comments — Comment )
May. 16th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
May. 16th, 2006 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hey, when's the pre-baby shower?
May. 16th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
Make sure you attend your pre-prenatal classes
May. 16th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
I have pondered what Washington Post staff writers (and contributors) are trying to get across in some articles. It is one of the few RSS feeds (barring CNet) that I read with any regularity and sometimes it leaves me baffled. As I'm not entirely sure where the Post positions itself in US media political terms this could be the main reason for bafflement.

The pre-pregancy article is quite amusing, I'm just imaging the general reaction of the NHS putting out such advice in the media to all women of childbearing age in this country. Oh wait...

May. 16th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)
I think you need to discard some of your preconceptions.
May. 16th, 2006 08:59 pm (UTC)
May. 16th, 2006 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oh good Gods...

I suppose they'll be saying women shouldn't be doing things like strenous excercise then, in case they're pregnant?
And what about women who aren't even currently sexually active? Or are lesbians?
May. 16th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
Well, aside from the slightly creepy 'all women are merely incubators' overtone, those are hardly things one wouldn't do anyway. Apart from the folic acid.
May. 17th, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
I know you're anti-smoking, but plenty of people do smoke :o) And plenty of people aren't a healthy weight either - in both directions - and while reaching a healthy weight is obviously a good thing, it should be done for yourself, not some nebulous possible future baby.
May. 17th, 2006 11:58 am (UTC)
That's the point I was trying to make -- you'd do these things for yourself, so telling people to do it for nebulous babies is a bit pointless. But it could be - perversely - that for some people the notion of nebulous babies is a more powerful incentive than their own health.

(Nearly every smoker I've ever met wants to quit.)
May. 17th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
I've actually met quite a few enthusiastic smokers, oddly enough. They do seem to be in a hilariously small minority, though...
May. 17th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
I met one who talked about 'beating the odds of cancer'.
May. 16th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
And are they even aware that some women don't ever plan on having children?

I think the 'about half of pregnancies are unplanned' part of your post is a good pre-answer to 'some women don't ever plan on having children' part ;o)

Whether we plan on getting pregnant or not is somewhat irrelevant as far as what's good for our health is concerned, so whilst I agree the use of the term 'pre-pregnant' is somewhat creepy, I don't think the idea of promoting an optimum state of health which covers potential (however we plan to tap that potential) is unreasonable. Think of it as a pre-saving to society.
May. 17th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC)
OK, I should probably rephrase as "some women intend never to have children", and won't change their mind if they get pregnant, they'll have an abortion.

I wouldn't mind if it was just a general "Kepp healthy!"
May. 17th, 2006 11:47 am (UTC)
Keep, even. I'd be a little perplexed if they told us to kepp healthy ;o)
May. 17th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
1. After reading a couple of other reports about the recommendations and the recommendations themselves (bloody long), I find that I can't really get het up about this.
    [The recommendations] will make an important contribution toward providing integrated and evidence-based health care services to women considering a future pregnancy, said the American College of Nurse-Midwives
From this article (emphasis mine).

The term 'pre-conception care' isn't, I don't think, the best term they cold have come up with, but as the guideliness seem concerned with reproductive health (which we even those who don't intend to get pregnant, usually have) and health overall, rather then insuring the women stay barefoot and pregnant, it's not so awful. Especially when you consider that the guildelines are also aimed at men (to some extent) and women who do not intend to have children at all.
    [...] a lifespan approach can be used to focus individual attention on reproductive health to reduce unintended pregnancies, age-related infertility, fetal exposures to teratogens, and to improve women's health and pregnancy outcomes (20).
      (Emphasis mine.)
May. 17th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
2. The conclusion to the report is:
    The 10 recommendations for improving preconception care services and the health of women and infants were developed through a process of consultation with a select panel of specialists from the relevant disciplines. Implementation of the recommendations will help achieve the SPPC vision of preconception health and pregnancy outcomes in which 1) women and men of childbearing age have high reproductive awareness (i.e., understand risk factors related to childbearing); 2) women and men have a reproductive life plan (e.g., whether or when they want to have children and how they will maintain their reproductive health); 3) pregnancies are intended and planned; 4) women and men of childbearing age have health-care coverage; 5) women of childbearing age are screened before pregnancy for risks related to the outcomes of pregnancy; and 6) women with a previous adverse pregnancy outcome (e.g., infant death, very low birthweight or preterm birth) have access to interconception care aimed at reducing their risks.

    Improving preconception health will require changes in the knowledge and attitudes and behaviors of persons, families, communities, and institutions (e.g., government and health-care settings). The purpose of preconception care is to improve the health of each woman before any pregnancy and thereby affect the future health of the woman, her child, and her family. The recommendations and specific action steps were developed as a result of SPPC meeting and implementation of CDC's preconception health programs. The frame work has incorporated both an ecological model and a lifespan perspective on health and recognized the unique contributions and challenges encountered by women, their families, communities, and institutions. Improving the health of women can increase the quality of health for families and the community.

    Several preconception care interventions have reduced risk and improved health outcomes. By increasing support for provision of preconception care, policy makers have the opportunity to promote broad-based programs and services aimed at improving the health of women, children, and families. The recommendations present a conceptual frame work for innovative service delivery models so that women are afforded the benefit of risk-appropriate preconception services during every encounter with the health-care system.
Certainly there are problems with and things I would find fault with if I were American, but that would be true of any wide scale strategy for tackling a major health issue. But it actually sounds reasonably holistic to me. ~shrug~
May. 19th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC)
I commented on this issue in redatt's journal, but I just wanted to add this thought: how many women do you know who have gotten pregnant without meaning to? Or earlier than they'd wanted to? Someone very close to me recently got married. She and her husband planned to wait a couple years before getting pregnant. They are both in a high risk ethnic group for genetic problems and had made an appointment for genetic counseling. They were being incredibly responsible in their planning, and then they found out that she was pregnant. The genetic testing had to take place after the baby was conceived. And she was terrified for out for the entire pregnancy about the few drinks she'd had the weekend before she found out.

I'm not saying every woman needs to live as if she is perpetually about to become pregnant, but unless you're celibate or exclusively lesbian then pregnancy is a real possibility. And the baby has a better chance of being healthy if its mother is healthy/immunised/substance free/taking folate from the moment it's conceived. And is able to receive proper healthcare throughout the pregnancy. That's what the Guidance is saying. I, for one, think it's a bloody good idea.
May. 17th, 2006 12:33 am (UTC)
WOW Does this mean
I NEVER HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO CHANGE THE CAT BOX AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! YIPPEE! Oh, crap...that means I should quit smoking and do yoga or something. My god.. can I have pre-pregnant shower and register at the bookstore or Victoria's Secret?

Hmmmmmmm.....the possibilities
May. 17th, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)
Meanwhile, Tony Blair insists that his statement that "You're getting more nuclear power stations whether you like it or not," was simply part if the NHS's new programme to treat everyone as "pre-dead".
( 20 comments — Comment )


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