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Fathers and mothers advised to seek pre-pregnancy counseling

Despite the fact that personal health behaviors and family history can have an impact on the health of a pregnancy, few couples seek pre-conception counseling.

That is according to a new report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, which found that that 86.5 per cent of women in the state did not receive any information on preparing for a healthy pregnancy ahead of conception.

In addition, the research revealed that women who did not receive any pre-pregnancy counseling were more likely to smoke and less likely to take multivitamins while trying to conceive.

State health commissioner Dr Michael Crutcher suggests that more needs to be done to encourage women to seek pre-conception advice, although he recognises that factors such as a lack of health insurance may discourage some couples from doing so.

"Preconception counseling provides great value in helping assure a healthy baby," he states.

It is not only mothers who sometimes require advice before a pregnancy, but fathers as well.

Heidi Murkoff, author of the pregnancy guide ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’, recently told Heraldnet.com that prospective dads should check their family history for hereditary health problems and avoid exposure to potential toxins such as alcohol, illegal drugs, chemicals and cigarettes.