Preconception Counseling

Preconception counselling is a scheduled appointment with your doctor or gynaecologist for planning a happy future pregnancy. Preparing for a safe and healthy pregnancy helps you get a positive result. During these appointments with your healthcare provider, different aspects of pregnancy and conceiving are discussed with you.

Need for preconception counselling

Preconception counselling is essential in couples planning a family, especially those with a history of early pregnancy loss. Couples in such cases are very distressed and require reassurance that all necessary things are taken care of to avoid future pregnancy losses. In addition, early support and pregnancy monitoring increase the chances of successful delivery by predicting complications in future pregnancies.

When to see a doctor for Preconception Counseling?

A couple planning to get pregnant should take preconception counselling at least three months before getting pregnant.

Benefits of Preconception Counseling

Preconception counselling helps in determining disorders or diseases in a child beforehand. Some particular benefits include:

  • Preventing transmission of STDs or HIV
  • Preventing stillbirths, preterm births or labor
  • Preventing complications during pregnancy
  • Preventing complications during labor and delivery
  • Reducing child and maternal mortality
  • Controlling the low birth weight of the infant
  • Preventing chances of infections in infants

Topics that are addressed in Preconception Counseling

Your doctor will discuss with you specific topics such as:

  1. General medical history: Taking care of your health before getting pregnant is crucial. During your counselling, your doctor will discuss any preexisting conditions, allergies, current medications, and previous surgeries or transfusions.
  2. Family history: Family history provides insight into any genetic disorders the child can get. Having information about family history helps doctors to suggest any extra medical testing that you should undertake to ensure a safe pregnancy.
  3. OB/GYN history: Knowledge about previous pregnancies, menstrual cycle history, type of contraceptive used, vaginal infections, etc. will help the doctors to determine any issues that would prevent conception.
  4. Lifestyle: Successful and safe pregnancy depends upon a healthy lifestyle choice of the couple. A balanced diet and regular workout with discontinuing drug use and smoking will help with conceiving.
  5. Environmental risks: Risks such as pets, farm animals, unhygienic practices, exposure to hazardous chemicals and dyes, radiation, exposure, etc.
  6. Vaccination history: Before conception, the mother needs to be additionally vaccinated in some cases. Some vaccinations need to be taken within specific time gaps. Carry your vaccination records with you to your counselling appointments.
  7. Spacing between pregnancies: Previous research studies have shown the impact of pregnancy on the health of infants and mothers. Depending upon the mother's age, spacing between two pregnancies is associated with preterm delivery and morbidity.

Medical tests suggested in Preconception Counseling

During counselling sessions, your doctor may prescribe one of the below-given medical tests:

  1. Physical examination: A full body health check is typically performed during your preconception appointment. It helps the doctor learn about the proper functioning of body organs like hearts, lungs, breasts, thyroid, abdomen, blood pressure etc.
  2. Blood tests: For determining the presence of any infection or disease, the doctor will prescribe specific tests like blood sugar level, pap smear, HIV, thyroid levels, hepatitis, rubella, blood count, etc.
  3. Menstruation: Menstrual cycle regularity plays a significant role in keeping a healthy uterus. Thus your doctor will discuss and ask you about your menses.
  4. Cervical screening: Pap smear and cervical smear testing is encouraged in women before getting pregnant.
  5. Genetic counselling: In cases with a family history of genetic conditions like sickle cell or Tay-Sachs, the couple might be suggested to undertake specific genetic testing to ensure the conception of a healthy baby.

Healthcare Suggestions at Preconception Counseling

Your doctor might suggest several changes depending on your lifestyle choices, such as:

  • Stress management
  • Quitting smoking and drinking
  • Losing weight
  • Getting vaccinations
  • Multivitamins and supplements

Getting a proper recommendation from time to time during pregnancy gives reassurance to the mother and helps her throughout the pregnancy. Good nutrition during pregnancy is essential for the baby's growth and the mother's health. Hydration, supplements, light exercise, and a healthy diet are crucial for a successful pregnancy.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. Factors that affect chances of conception?

Factors such as age, weight, smoking, drug use, caffeine intake, and lifestyle choices are the general factors that determine your chances of conception.

2. Who should receive preconception counseling?

Any couple who wishes or is planning to start a family soon should receive preconception counselling.

3. How do I know that I am fertile?

Your gynecologist will help you determine your fertility depending upon certain signs and symptoms like, for example, ovulation kits, quality of vaginal discharge, sex drive, menstrual flow, menstrual pain, tenderness in the breast, regularity of menses etc.

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