Preconceptual counseling is intended to assess the risks of pregnancy for a woman before she gets pregnant. The risks can be to the woman herself if she has a health problem like obesity or diabetes that increases the risk of complications.
There are also risks to the baby. For example, some birth defects can run in families; if the woman belongs to such a family, any child she has may be born with the condition.
What Happens During Preconceptual Counseling?
At Associates in Women’s Health in Cincinnati, the woman and one of our certified doctors discuss the risks of pregnancy and ways to mitigate those risks. If the woman is overweight, for example, she will be told to lose weight.
During the counseling session, a woman’s physical history is discussed in extensive detail.
Likely topics will include the following:
• Previous pregnancies: If the woman has been pregnant before, the doctor will want to know. The doctor will especially want to know about any difficulties the patient experienced.
• Health problems involving the reproductive system: The woman will have to tell the doctor about any STDs or yeast infections she has had. She will also have to tell the doctor about what her periods have generally been like.
• Past surgeries: It is especially important for the doctor to know if the woman has ever had any operations involving the reproductive system.
• Family history: The doctor will need to know about any health problems like diabetes or hemophilia that run in the family.
• Medications: Some medicines can either cause birth defects or increase the chances of complications like abnormal bleeding.
• Environmental concerns: The doctor will want to know about the patient’s workplace and home to learn if the patient is routinely exposed to any potential toxins.
• Lifestyle: The doctor and patient will discuss the latter’s health habits. The patient will be advised to maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy and to limit her caffeine consumption.
In addition to discussing the above topics, the doctor may also examine the patient physically. The doctor may also order pelvic exams, Pap smears and various lab tests to check for diseases like rubella or hepatitis that can complicate a pregnancy and/or cause birth defects.
The doctor may also check the patient’s vaccination records to make sure they are all current, and the patient is protected against diseases like rubella.
If you are interested in preconceptual counseling, contact Associates in Women’s Health today to schedule an appointment.