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Preparing For Life

Preparing for Life is a unique joint venture. It will endeavour to prevent some of life’s problems before they begin, rather than try to diminish their consequences after they arise

Each day over 1400 women worldwide die from pregnancy and childbirth related causes. Almost all of these over half a million women die in middle- and low-income countries and their deaths are avoidable. Of the 10.4 million annual childhood deaths, 3.85 million (37%) are neonates of which approximately 1.2 million (31%) die as a consequence of preterm delivery or low birth weight and some 300 000 from congenital anomalies. Considerably more children with congenital disorders are diagnosed and die after the neonatal period. Many of these maternal and childhood deaths, and other adverse pregnancy outcomes, are preventable with preconception care. Therefore, preconception health should be an essential component of maternal and child health promotion.

The overall objective of Preparing for Life is to initiate an international awareness and prevention program to reduce common known risks of adverse health effects for the parents-to-be, the fetus or neonate by addressing  women and men at child-bearing age, in both developed and developing countries. This objective follows the 4th UN- millennium development goal to "reduce child mortality by two/thirds''. The unique nature of Preparing of Life is the cooperation between a diversity of committed groups: scientific, medical and public health professionals, patient organisations, governments and service organisations.

Preconception care

Traditionally initiatives to prevent maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity are focused on the prenatal and perinatal periods. Over the last three decades there has been increasing awareness that a significant proportion of maternal and child mortality and morbidity can be prevented and maternal and child health promoted by measures undertaken prior to conception.


Preconception care is defined as the full range of effective interventions, focused primarily on the health of women of reproductive age, and their partners, prior to or between pregnancies that promote the opportunity for safe motherhood and the birth of a healthy infant with the expectation of healthy longevity.


Preconception care is multi-disciplinary and encompasses interventions targeted at risks consequent on lifestyle choices, nutrition, environmental and working conditions, illness, infection, medication and genetic factors.


By promoting preconception health and understanding of risks implicit in conception, pregnancy, birth and subsequent life the opportunity is afforded to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and decrease the possibility of intrauterine death, preterm delivery, congenital disorders  and complex disorders of later life.

Latest Conference

The First Global Scientific Consensus and Strategy Meeting on 6,7,8 February 2012, Geneva.

This conference was held in collaboration with the WHO and Erasmus MC. Click HERE for the report of the Strategy Meeting, February 8, 2012.


Preparing For Life is a collaboration of:


  • International Genetic Alliance of parent & patient organizations (IGA)
  • World Alliance of Organizations for thePrevention and Treatment of Genetic & Congenital Conditions (WAO)
  • March of Dimes (MOD) World Health Organisation, Geneva (WHO)
  • Dr Edwin Trevathan, Director National Center Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilties, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Dr Pierpaolo Maistrocovo, Director, International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research (ICBDSR)
  • Rotary International
  • Zonta International

The Netherlands

  • Dutch Genetic Alliance (VSOP)
  • Erasmus Medical Centre (Erasmus MC)
  • Health Council of the Netherlands (GR)
  • The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research & Development (ZonMw)
  • Dutch Foundation for Preconception Care (PCZN)
  • Dutch Ministry of Health

Our partnership keeps growing. You are welcome to join this initiative!

Website: Websteen