Posts for tag: Preconception Counseling
Before a woman decides to become pregnant she may choose to sit down and discuss her family planning goals with her OBGYN. This is known as preconception counseling, and this appointment between a woman and her doctor is an important part of planning a healthy, complication-free pregnancy for the future. After all, having a healthy pregnancy begins even before you find out you are pregnant.
Before becoming pregnant you may choose to make certain lifestyle changes that could improve your health before getting pregnant. During preconception counseling your gynecologist can discuss the many ways in which you can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Some of these lifestyle changes include changing medications, avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, eating a healthier diet, and getting regular exercise.
A preconception counseling appointment can happen at any point when a woman is considering becoming pregnant; however, the ideal time to have this appointment is about three months before you begin trying to get pregnant. This appointment will cover a variety of topics and health issues to ensure that everything is taken into consideration before becoming pregnant. Some of the things your gynecologist may discuss with you include:
Your family history (and even your partner’s family history): Everything from chronic health conditions to genetic disorders should be discussed in depth with your OBGYN during this counseling appointment. Knowing your family history can provide us with information we need to determine if there are any additional tests or screening tools that we will need to perform during the course of your pregnancy.
Your personal history: We won’t just delve into yours and partner’s family history but also your own. This includes everything from preexisting conditions and current medications to past surgeries and hospitalizations. Being honest and upfront about your own medical history is important for your gynecologist to get an idea of what your future pregnancy will look like and to take the necessary precautions to prevent complications from happening.
While your gynecologist is already delving into your general medical history they will also go through your medical chart and OBGYN history. This history may include past infections, sexually transmitted diseases, abnormal pap smears, menstruation history, and any previous pregnancies.
Your lifestyle: Your gynecologist will also want to discuss your current lifestyle, which includes your diet, exercise, drug use, and environment, to look for potential issues that could affect your future pregnancy. Your doctor will discuss certain changes you will need to make even before you become pregnant.
After going through your medical history and talking with you about your family planning needs, your gynecologist may also perform a physical exam, Pap smear, STI screening, and lab tests.
If you are planning to become pregnant within the next year then it’s time to talk with your gynecologist to make sure that there are no surprises. Your OBGYN can provide you with the guidance, support and medical care you need before, during and after your pregnancy.
Preconception counseling is an important step in pregnancy planning. When you are ready to have become pregnant, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician or gynecologist first. There are specific questions your doctor will ask that can help you determine if you are truly ready to get pregnant. If you decide that it is the right time to conceive, your doctor can advise you on what things you can do now to improve your chances of conceiving, as well as how to prepare for pregnancy.
Preconception counseling is an excellent time to discuss any specific concerns you have with your doctor. For instance, having certain health conditions, such as diabetes, can potentially impact your health and the baby’s during pregnancy. Being older when pregnant, particularly in your mid to late 30s or even 40s, poses additional risks as well. There are many factors to take into account when deciding to become pregnant. Your doctor can assess your specific situation and make recommendations to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
During your preconception counseling appointment, your doctor will discuss a variety of concerns with you and your partner, if you have one. Topics of discussion can include:
- Hereditary conditions that might be inherited by the baby
- Health conditions and concerns of the mother-to-be
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet
- Safe exercises for pregnancy
- Cessation of tobacco products, alcohol and other drugs
- Important immunizations for both mother and child
- Ways for the partner to be supportive during pregnancy
- Any other concerns the patient, partner or doctor might have
Seeing a doctor regularly throughout pregnancy is always important. It is also just as important to schedule time with your doctor to discuss various concerns before becoming pregnant. Preconception counseling can help you achieve optimal health for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.