Providers should maximize women's health during the interpregnancy period, continuing care beyond the immediate postpartum period, according to a consensus report published online Dec. 20 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology .

Interpregnancy care

Interpregnancy care aims to maximize a woman’s level of wellness not just in between pregnancies and during subsequent pregnancies, but also along her life course. Because the interpregnancy period is a continuum for overall health and wellness, all women of reproductive age who have been pregnant regardless of the outcome of their pregnancies (ie, miscarriage, abortion, preterm, full-term delivery), should receive interpregnancy care as a continuum from postpartum care. .

Postpartum care

The initial components of interpregnancy care should include the components of postpartum care, such as reproductive life planning, screening for depression, vaccination, managing diabetes or hypertension if needed, education about future health, assisting the patient to develop a postpartum care team, and making plans for long-term medical care. In women with chronic medical conditions, interpregnancy care provides an opportunity to optimize health before a subsequent pregnancy.

For women who will not have any future pregnancies, the period after pregnancy also affords an opportunity for secondary prevention and improvement of future healthJudette Marie Louis, MD, MPH, from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and colleagues address interpregnancy care, which aims to maximize women's wellness in between pregnancies, during subsequent pregnancies, and along the life course.

The authors note that all women of reproductive age should receive pregnant care as a continuum from postpartum care, regardless of the outcome of their pregnancies (miscarriage, abortion, preterm, full-term delivery). The components of postpartum care, including reproductive life planning, depression screening, vaccination, management of diabetes or hypertension if needed, and education about future health, should be included in the initial components of interpregnancy care.

Interpregnancy care provides an opportunity to optimize health before a subsequent pregnancy in women with chronic medical conditions. The period after pregnancy also provides an opportunity for secondary prevention and improvement of future health for women who will not have any future pregnancies. "Reasearch are looking at pregnancy as a window to the woman's future health," Louis said in a statement. "The interpregnancy period is an opportunity for women's health care providers to have problems, and to improve their health along their life course."