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Should You Get Preconception Counseling?

Cheerful young doctor listening to a patient in the office; blog: Should You Get Preconception Counseling?

Whether or not you struggle with fertility, you need to make sure you are ready for pregnancy before you start trying to get pregnant. That’s where preconception counseling comes in. Preconception or prepregnancy care is geared toward ensuring that both you and your baby are as healthy as possible when you conceive.

What is Preconception Counseling?

Preconception counseling can be a part of preconception healthcare. Preconception healthcare focuses on taking steps now to protect the health of your baby in the future. It is an important part of planning for pregnancy. 

According to the US Office on Women’s Health, preconception care should start at least three months before getting pregnant. But the earlier you start prepregnancy preparations, the better. Preconception counseling includes the following elements:

Preconception Health Checkup

An important part of preconception counseling is a health check-up. You will meet with your healthcare provider to discuss your current health and what you can do to get healthier before you start trying to get pregnant. The checkup may include a physical exam and you will talk about the following health topics:

  • Any current medical conditions you have that will need to be carefully managed and controlled once you’re pregnant. These conditions may include:
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure
    • Asthma
    • Obesity
    • Thyroid disorders
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
  • The medications you are currently on, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and herbal weight supplements. You may need to find alternatives to certain medications when trying to get pregnant.
  • Ways to improve your overall health including:
    • Managing your weight
    • Eating a healthy and balanced diet
    • Being physically active
    • Managing stress
    • Getting enough sleep

Health Screenings & Vaccinations

As a part of preconception counseling, your doctor will go over your medical history to make sure you are up to date on all necessary vaccinations. They may also recommend getting certain health screenings based on your medical history or current health.

  • Pap test
  • Screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV
  • Genetic testing for chromosome disorders and single-gene disorders
    • These screenings are not necessary for all future parents. Your doctor can counsel you on whether or not you should get a genetic screening.

Counseling on Lifestyle Changes

Before you get pregnant, you might need to change some aspects of your lifestyle so you can be as healthy as possible. During preconception counseling, your doctor can give you guidance on the following:

  • Taking folic acid
  • Managing your weight
  • Stopping smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Learning to manage stress
  • Staying active with a safe fitness routine

How You Can Benefit

If you are on a fertility journey, you have most likely already discussed preconception care with your healthcare providers in some capacity because you’ve already tried to get pregnant. However, if you are just starting out on your journey and you haven’t started paying attention to your preconception health, you can benefit in many ways from preconception counseling. Or if you have been on your fertility journey for a while, it can still be helpful to review.

The healthier you are during fertility treatments, the better your chances of conceiving are. You can also take a look at our guide to preparing your body for pregnancy and how to prepare for successful IVF treatment for more information on how a little bit of preconception counseling and care can benefit you.

Contact Carolinas Fertility Institute

If you have any questions about fertility or your chances of conceiving, reach out to Carolinas Fertility Institute today. We offer a wide variety of services, from fertility evaluations to In Vitro fertilization. We can also help you with preconception care so your body and mind are prepared for pregnancy when it happens. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation by calling our Charlotte office at (844) 686-2233 or our office in the Triad at (336) 448-9100.