Topic: Come in for Preconception Counseling
Deciding to have a child is a big decision, of course, and there is a lot to consider while planning your family. Your OB/GYN is an important resource through every step of the pregnancy and childbirth.
Preconception counseling is a great way to discuss your concerns, ask questions, and make sure your pregnancy will be a safe one.
The importance of preconception counseling
Most people don’t think to visit an OB/GYN until they’re already pregnant, but getting your doctor involved beforehand can make the process much easier. Your OB/GYN can evaluate your health, identify issues that might affect your baby, and help you get off to a safe, healthy start.
You should try to start preconception counseling at least three months before you start attempting to get pregnant, so there’s ample time to run tests and address any health concerns you might have.
Most parents do independent research while planning their pregnancy, and your OB/GYN can provide professional insight and advice.
Preconception counseling not only prepares you for pregnancy, but it prevents poor perinatal outcomes. Among the 200 million pregnancies worldwide each year, almost half of them are unplanned. Counseling helps to educate parents and family members to prevent complications and tragedy.
What to expect from your appointment
You have many factors to consider during preconception counseling. It’s important to review every aspect of your health before getting pregnant to ensure that you and your baby will be safe and healthy. During your consultation, your OB/GYN reviews your:
- Medical history, such as pre-existing medical conditions, medications, and allergies
- Family history, including birth defects, twins/multiples, and mental disorders
- OB/GYN history, such as previous pregnancies, contraceptive use, and STDs
- Lifestyle, including your diet, exercise routine, and any drug use
- Vaccination record, to make sure you’re up-to-date on all your necessary shots
You can expect a physical exam and lab tests, and your partner might be screened as well. If you or your partner has a family history of genetic conditions, your doctor might recommend genetic testing.
Your OB/GYN can also help you track your menstrual cycles and ovulation, which makes conception easier. You might be given a prenatal vitamin, which can help your baby before you even know you’re pregnant.
Checking in with your OB/GYN before trying to conceive not only prepares you for pregnancy, but it boosts your chances of having a healthy, happy baby.
Topic Discussed: Come in for Preconception Counseling