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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6150976, 30 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/6150976
Review Article

Preconception Care: A New Standard of Care within Maternal Health Services

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5H 3V9
2University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
3Millcreek Environmental Health Clinic, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6K 4C1

Received 31 December 2015; Accepted 18 April 2016

Academic Editor: Jose Guilherme Cecatti

Copyright © 2016 Stephen J. Genuis and Rebecca A. Genuis. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Emerging research suggests that much pediatric affliction has origins in the vulnerable phase of fetal development. Prenatal factors including deficiency of various nutrients and exposure to assorted toxicants are major etiological determinants of myriad obstetrical complications, pediatric chronic diseases, and perhaps some genetic mutations. With recent recognition that modifiable environmental determinants, rather than genetic predestination, are the etiological source of most chronic illness, modification of environmental factors prior to conception offers the possibility of precluding various mental and physical health conditions. Environmental and lifestyle modification through informed patient choice is possible but evidence confirms that, with little to no training in clinical nutrition, toxicology, or environmental exposures, most clinicians are ill-equipped to counsel patients about this important area. With the totality of available scientific evidence that now exists on the potential to modify disease-causing gestational determinants, failure to take necessary precautionary action may render members of the medical community collectively and individually culpable for preventable illness in children. We advocate for environmental health education of maternity health professionals and the widespread adoption and implementation of preconception care. This will necessitate the translation of emerging knowledge from recent research literature, to health professionals, to reproductive-aged women, and to society at large.