Reproductive health has improved little in the last few decades. The Netherlands, particularly in large cities, has relatively high perinatal death rates compared with other European countries. Lack of improvement in reproductive outcomes despite improved quality of and better access to prenatal care strongly suggests that prenatal care alone is insufficient. We discuss how preconception care offers new strategies for improving reproductive health, how it usefully connects the life course of the affected individual and many health-care disciplines, and the benefits of combining a top-down policy structure and bottom-up organisation around caregivers. Given the likely benefits and cost savings calculated for the Netherlands, we conclude that failing to facilitate preconception care would reflect a breakdown of both professional and governmental responsibilities.

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Journal of Public Health Policy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van der Zee, B., de Beaufort, I., Temel, S., de Wert, G., Denktaş, S., & Steegers-Theunissen, R. (2011). Preconception care: An essential preventive strategy to improve children's and women's health. Journal of Public Health Policy, 32(3), 367–379. doi:10.1057/jphp.2011.13