Preconception counseling usually involves meeting with a doctor or another healthcare provider who is experienced in this specialty, before pregnancy and consists of an assessment of the health of both potential parents, though a greater emphasis is usually placed on that of the mother.
Among the items covered in preconception counseling will be:
- A thorough personal, medical, and family history of the potential mother
- A thorough personal, medical, and family history of the potential father.
- A genetic evaluation.
- A review of prior pregnancy problems.
- A physical exam of the mother including a Pap and other tests.
- A physical exam of the father, if indicated.
Blood samples and other tests of both parents if indicated (for example, HIV, infectious diseases, genetic predisposition).
There are several aims of all this attention, among which are:
- Helping you to become pregnant.
- Decreasing the risk of a pregnancy loss.
- Decreasing the chance of birth defects.
- Improving your health. Identifying medical conditions in you that might affect your pregnancy.
- Decreasing any negative effects of pre-existing medical conditions.
- Identifying medications that might possibly affect the fetus and changing them to safer ones.
- A discussion about the findings and your lifestyle.
Below are some real examples:
- Taking folic acid before and during the first months of pregnancy has been shown to significantly decrease certain birth defects.
- Stopping smoking before pregnancy will improve your chances of getting pregnant and decrease certain adverse effects on the fetus.
- Doing a mammogram before pregnancy if you need one is safer and more sensitive.
- Changing certain high blood pressure pills to safer ones improves the baby's health.
- Taking small amounts of aspirin before and early in pregnancy might prevent miscarriages in women with certain conditions.
You should see your doctor before you get pregnant and discuss issues related to your pregnancy.
- What is pregnancy planning and why is it important?
- How do we maximize our chances of becoming pregnant?
- What are pregnancy symptoms?
- How can diet and nutrition affect early pregnancy?
- How do medications and drugs affect TTC?
- What infections affect pregnancy?
- What is safe during pregnancy?
- Can I do this or that during pregnancy?
- How soon after stopping birth control can I become pregnant?
- Can I do something to help my chances of conceiving a boy or a girl?