Introduction. Infections can impact the reproductive health of women and hence may influence pregnancy related outcomes for both the mother and the child. These infections range from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to TORCHS infections to periodontal disease to systemic infections and may be transmitted to the fetus during pregnancy, labor, delivery or breastfeeding. Methods. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence was conducted to ascertain the possible impact of preconception care for adolescents, women and couples of reproductive age on MNCH outcomes. A comprehensive strategy was used to search electronic reference libraries, and both observational and clinical controlled trials were included. Cross-referencing and a separate search strategy for each preconception risk and intervention ensured wider study capture. Results: Preconception behavioral interventions significantly declines re-infection or new STI rates by 35% (95% CI: 20-47%). Further, condom use has been shown to be the most effective way to prevent HIV infection (85% protection in prospective studies) through sexual intercourse. Intervention trials showed that preconception vaccination against tetanus averted a significant number of neonatal deaths (including those specifically due to tetanus) when compared to placebo in women receiving more than 1 dose of the vaccine (OR 0.28; 95% CI: 0.15-0.52); (OR 0.02; 95% CI: 0.00-0.28) respectively. Conclusion: Preconception counseling should be offered to women of reproductive age as soon as they test HIV-positive, and conversely women of reproductive age should be screened with their partners before pregnancy. Risk assessment, screening, and treatment for specific infections should be a component of preconception care because there is convincing evidence that treatment of these infections before pregnancy prevents neonatal infections.
- Sexually transmitted infections