NHS Lanarkshire launches preconception health campaign
Pregnancy - PA
A new campaign by a health board encourages people to think about the health of a baby they might have in the future during their reproductive years.
Almost half of pregnancies are unplanned, and the new animated video by NHS Lanarkshire suggests prospective parents should remain healthy so both can prevent complications with births in the future.
As revealed through the Holyrood baby campaign, difficulties developed in utero can lead to birth defects, speech and language problems and poor health outcomes in later life.
These can stem from lifestyle choices and outside factors before the child has even been conceived, including stress, tobacco, alcohol and obesity.
The ‘Health b4 Pregnancy’ animation was produced by NHS Lanarkshire with a group of young people and funded by the health board's maternal and infant nutrition team.
Ashley Goodfellow, Public Health Specialist, said: “We talked to health staff, youth workers and guidance teachers. The general consensus was that young people didn’t know what preconception health was or why it was important, so it is vital we get the message out there."
Natalie Allan, 16, from Airdrie, was one of the participants.
“Everything we learned was really interesting, like folic acid is really important," she said.
"You can’t get the amount you need during pregnancy from food so you need to take a vitamin for a month before you become pregnant to make sure your baby develops as it should.
“Being unhealthy before pregnancy can affect the way you deliver and affects what happens afterwards including the health of your baby."