We do not focus on Pre-Pregnancy Counseling enough! YES, it’s actually a thing!
We recommend that if you are considering becoming pregnant, seek medical advice BEFORE becoming pregnant.
Pre-Pregnancy counseling is an appointment with your OBGYN to plan for a future pregnancy. Your family history, risk factors, medical conditions, and lifestyle are discussed. This appointment is an integral part of a planned and healthy pregnancy.
A safe, healthy, and happy pregnancy begins well before you have a positive result on a test. Therefore, caring for your health before you become pregnant helps you prepare for a pregnancy. Preconception counseling is a visit with your doctor where you discuss many aspects of pregnancy and plan for a healthy pregnancy.
When should I schedule a Pre-Pregnancy Counseling appointment?
This appointment should happen at least three months before you start trying to get pregnant. Getting their bodies ready for pregnancy takes a few months for some women. It might take longer for others.
This appointment should happen at least three months before you start trying to get pregnant.
What will my doctor discuss with me during a Pre-Pregnancy Counseling appointment?
During the visit, your doctor will discuss the following topics:
- Family history: Your family history—and your partner’s—can provide insight into any genetic conditions or disorders that may be passed on to a child. Understanding your medical past can help your doctors treat you and your child in the future. This information may also tell your doctor if they need to perform extra tests or watch for the development of certain conditions during pregnancy. Specific parts of your family health history to share with your doctor could include a history of:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Thyroid disease.
- Mental disorders.
- Congenital disabilities.
- Ethnic-related diseases (Tay-Sachs, sickle trait/sickle cell disease).
- Twins or multiples.
- Your general medical history: It is vital for your doctor to see the whole picture of your health before pregnancy. During your appointment, your caregiver will want to discuss:
- Surgeries, hospitalizations, or transfusions you may have had in the past.
- Any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Any allergies.
- Any medications (Prescription and Non-Prescription) you may currently be taking.
- Your OB/GYN history: During the discussion of your medical history, your doctor will ask you about your OB/GYN history. Some STDs and vaginal infections can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Your doctor may do cervical cultures or blood tests to make sure there are no infections that could cause issues during conception or pregnancy. Specific topics your doctor may discuss:
- Any previous pregnancies.
- Your menstrual history.
- Contraceptive use.
- Any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Any history of known uterine abnormalities.
- Pap smears or any treatments for abnormal paps.
- Vaginal infections.
- Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle is essential during pregnancy. This includes a balanced and nutritious diet, exercise, stopping any drug use and smoking, and exposure to any environmental hazards.
- Vaccination: Your doctor may need to update or give you additional vaccinations before you become pregnant. Some of these vaccinations may require time between when they are given to you and when you become pregnant. Bring your vaccination records with you to your appointment.
What will happen during my Pre-Pregnancy Counseling appointment?
During Pre-Pregnancy Counseling, your doctor may do several tests. These tests may include:
- A physical exam: Your doctor may do a physical exam during your preconception appointment. This exam may involve your caregiver:
- Checking your heart, lungs, breasts, thyroid, and abdomen.
- Doing a pelvic exam.
- Checking your blood pressure.
- Recording your weight.
- Lab tests are used to check for various diseases and conditions. Lab tests may include:
- Testing for rubella.
- Testing for hepatitis.
- Complete blood count (CBC).
- A pap smear.
- Diabetes screening.
- Testing for thyroid issues.
- Testing for HIV.
- Your doctor may suggest that you and your partner go through genetic counseling before conceiving, especially if you have a family history of certain genetic conditions.
Your doctor may also discuss how to chart your menstrual cycles and when you ovulate each month. Your caregiver may make several suggestions after your appointment. These could be a mix of lifestyle changes and healthcare suggestions. For example, you may be given a prenatal vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid. It would help if you started taking this before you were pregnant. Your baby can benefit from a prenatal vitamin before you are aware of conception. It is all essential when talking with your doctor as you plan to expand your family.
What other lifestyle changes should I consider as I prepare for pregnancy?
During pregnancy, women can continue to exercise. However, regular exercise (at least three times per week) is preferred over intermittent activity (altering between active and inactive periods). Pregnant women should stop exercising when fatigued and not exercise to exhaustion. It’s also vital to stay hydrated. Also, a good diet of healthy food is very important. Good nutrition during pregnancy is needed for your baby to grow and develop. During your pregnancy, you will need to consume about 300 more calories per day than before. Therefore, establishing a nutritious diet before pregnancy can help you maintain good eating habits throughout all three trimesters.
Healthcare By Women for Women
Are you interested in starting a family? We understand. For decades, we’ve provided compassionate care for women who are attempting to have a baby. We focus on your individual needs, enabling us to tailor a perfect plan for you and your baby.
Contact us for an appointment. We can talk about Pre-Pregnancy Counseling and help ensure that you have the healthiest pregnancy possible for you and your growing fetus! We would love the opportunity to care for you during this important time in your life.
Are You Planning to Have a Baby? Click here for our Pre-Pregnancy Checklist.