Purpose of review: This study reviews what we know about preconception care, its definition, goals, and content; the science behind the recommended interventions; opportunities for implementing preconception care; and the challenges facing its implementation.
Recent findings: There is solid scientific evidence that many interventions will improve pregnancy outcomes if delivered before pregnancy or early in pregnancy. Experts continue to explore the most effective means for implementing preconception care, taking into consideration issues related to policy, finance, public health practice, research/surveillance, and consumer and provider education.
Summary: Over the past 4 years, there has been renewed interest and a great emphasis on preconception health and healthcare as alternative and additional approaches to counter the persistent increasing incidence in adverse pregnancy outcomes in the United States. Following the publication of the 'Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Healthcare' in 2006, many state and local health departments initiated programs to implement the recommendations. Several countries such as Canada, Belgium, and the Netherlands have also started to implement preconception care programs. There are many opportunities for promoting preconception health and providing preconception care; however, making preconception care a standard practice continues to face many barriers.