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[Series] Before the beginning: nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health

A woman who is healthy at the time of conception is more likely to have a successful pregnancy and a healthy child. We reviewed published evidence and present new data from low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on the timing and importance of preconception health for subsequent maternal and child health. We describe the extent to which pregnancy is planned, and whether planning is linked to preconception health behaviours. Observational studies show strong links between health before pregnancy and maternal and child health outcomes, with consequences that can extend across generations, but awareness of these links is not widespread.

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