What is Preconception Counseling?
Preconception counseling is a series of conversations with your gynecologist about your plans for becoming pregnant and how to make sure you enjoy a successful and healthy pregnancy. This can be beneficial because your gynecologist can assess your health history and recommend steps to take in order to counteract any existing health concerns or family history that might complicate your intended pregnancy. Anyone planning on becoming pregnant can benefit from preconception counseling because your gynecologist can also recommend ways to optimize your health and your chances of becoming pregnant.
Why is Preconception Counseling Important?
Many factors within your control can affect you and your baby’s health during pregnancy. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy are crucial for the growth and development of your fetus, meaning that maintaining a healthy diet is important to making sure your body has the energy and nutrients it needs. Losing weight before pregnancy can help decrease the risk of pregnancy complications for you and birth defects for your baby. Certain habits, like smoking, drinking and drug use, can have harmful effects on a developing fetus. Taking steps to optimize your health can have a positive impact on your upcoming pregnancy.
How Can My Gynecologist Help?
At your preconception visit, your gynecologist will take a thorough history and perform a comprehensive physical. Certain medical conditions and medications can cause problems in pregnancy, so it’s important to screen these for any potential complications. Together with your gynecologist, it’s important for you to make a plan for how to minimize the risks before becoming pregnant. Learning about and avoiding certain infections that can harm your fetus is an important part of preparing for pregnancy.
Your obstetrician will also discuss with you options available for genetic screening. This can be performed before you get pregnant. There are a range of medical conditions that can be screened with simple laboratory work. The goal is to provide you and your partner with meaningful information that you can use to guide your pregnancy planning and reproductive options.
Schedule an Appointment
Preconception counseling is an important step in planning a pregnancy. To meet with our expert team and learn more about the best ways to achieve a healthy pregnancy, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How does folic acid help preconception?
A minimum 400 mcg (0.4 mg) folate (aka Folic Acid), in most over the counter multivitamins 1-2 mos prior to conception reduces the risk of fetal spina bifida (open neural tube defects).
Can a gynecologist check fertility?
Your gynecologist can conduct a preliminary evaluation of your fertility and assess whether factors such as uterine fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease may impact your ability to get pregnant. They can also give you advice regarding the typical amount of time it takes to conceive, when the optimal times during the month are to enhance fertility, and provide resources if further assistance is needed.
How do you know if your uterus is healthy?
A common means of ensuring that your uterus is healthy is through a vaginal ultrasound. During this test, a probe will be placed into the vagina, which will create images of the walls and lining of the uterus and the ovaries for review.
What can you do to prepare your body for pregnancy?
There are many steps you can take to prepare your body for pregnancy. First, before you even start trying to conceive, make sure your body is in good health and you are mentally and emotionally ready for a pregnancy. Scheduling a preconception checkup with your doctor can also be an effective measure of whether you’re in shape to embark on a pregnancy. You should also eat a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly, and keep stress levels under control.
Can I get pregnant after 35?
Absolutely! While it might take longer to get pregnant and some risks come with pregnancy at this stage in life, it is entirely possible to get pregnant after the age of 35.
Can my gynecologist help me get pregnant?
While your gynecologist can ensure your reproductive organs and system are as healthy as possible, they may not be qualified to help you get pregnant. A fertility specialist is more qualified to help you get pregnant.