You Should Consider Preconception Counseling

By James A. Scales, MD
May 21, 2018

Are you considering expanding your family in the near future? Our Texarkana, TX, OB/GYN, Dr. James Scales, can help you identify Pregnant Womenissues that may affect your fertility or pregnancy with preconception counseling.

What is preconception counseling?

Preconception counseling involves a physical exam, blood, or other laboratory tests, in some cases, and a discussion about risk factors that affect you or your partner or spouse. Counseling is usually conducted in our Texarkana office three to six months before you intend to become pregnant and covers these topics:

  • Medical and Reproductive History: During your counseling session, you'll be asked about your reproductive history, including previous pregnancies, surgeries, infections, gynecological conditions, and sexually transmitted diseases. Dr. Scales will also ask you and your partner about chronic diseases you may have or that may run in the family. Because some chronic diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, can affect your pregnancy, it's important to identify these risk factors and create care plans before you even become pregnant.
  • Medications: Some medications can cause side effects that cause birth defects in fetuses. You'll be informed if any of the medications you take may cause birth defects and will be advised to discuss other medication options with the prescribing physician before you try to become pregnant.
  • Genetic Disorders: You'll also be given information about common inherited disorders, such as cystic fibrosis, Tay Sachs disease or sickle cell anemia.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Discussing lifestyle factors, including your job and drug and alcohol use, can help us identify risk factors that may lead to issues with your pregnancy. For example, if you work in a physically demanding job or are routinely exposed to toxins at work, modifications may be needed to increase the odds of a healthy, full-term pregnancy.
  • Weight and Exercise: It may be much easier to get pregnant if your weight falls in the ideal range for your height and frame. If you weigh too much or too little, you'll be given recommendations that can help you lose or gain weight. You'll also receive advice and information about exercise and nutritional requirements and vitamins that can help support a healthy pregnancy.

Thanks to prenatal counseling, you'll have time to address any issues that may affect your ability to become pregnant. If you're interested in scheduling a counseling session, call our Texarkana, TX, OB/GYN, Dr. Scales, at (903) 614-3003.