As a preconception health initiative, our focus at Go Folic! is on prevention. That’s why we were initially a bit perplexed about how to best respond to last Thursday’s #HAWMC challenge to “create a “care page” – a list of your best resources that someone who is newly diagnosed could go to when starting to advocate for themselves or a loved one.”
However, on thinking about it, we realized that women who are thinking of having a baby, or who want to have (another) baby sometime in the future might find it helpful to have a list of resources that could help prepare. The healthier a woman is before she becomes pregnant, the more likely she is to have a healthy pregnancy, to avoid birth complications, and to have a healthy baby. To that end, we’ve put together a list of our favorite “before conception” resources.
Bedsider.org provides online tools that can help you decide which birth control methods fit your body and your life. You can also search for a nearby clinic that provides free or low-cost birth control.
ARHP.org is the website of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Their patient resource page includes handouts on all things related to sexual health. Check out the right-hand sidebar for interactive tools on everything from “Size Up Your Sex Life” to “Am I Pregnant?”
Planning a Pregnancy
The Go Folic! Website’s page on “preconception health” (making sure you’re healthy before you conceive) features downloadable brochures to help you begin planning your pregnancy.
Family Pact brochures on “keeping healthy” – Family PACT is the State of California’s Family Planning Program and provides materials in English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and Korean
Everywoman California is the State of California’s Preconception Health site. It provides detailed tools for helping women who are trying to get pregnant be as healthy as possible
For Families with a Child Born with a Neural Tube Defect (NTD)
Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) include spina bifida and hydranencephaly (more info). While taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces a woman’s risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTD) by 70%, it doesn’t eliminate the risk.
Approximately 1 of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. are born with an NTD. While many of these babies will die within the first year after birth, those born with Spina Bifida can live long and fulfilling lives. For families who are affected, there are a number of organizations that provide hope, education and support: