Posts for tag: Preconception Counseling
Are you considering expanding your family in the near future? Our Texarkana, TX, OB/GYN, Dr. James Scales, can help you identify issues 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.
Preconception counseling is an important step in pregnancy planning. When you are ready to have become pregnant, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician or gynecologist first. There are specific questions your doctor will ask that can help you determine if you are truly ready to get pregnant. If you decide that it is the right time to conceive, your doctor can advise you on what things you can do now to improve your chances of conceiving, as well as how to prepare for pregnancy.
Preconception counseling is an excellent time to discuss any specific concerns you have with your doctor. For instance, having certain health conditions, such as diabetes, can potentially impact your health and the baby’s during pregnancy. Being older when pregnant, particularly in your mid to late 30s or even 40s, poses additional risks as well. There are many factors to take into account when deciding to become pregnant. Your doctor can assess your specific situation and make recommendations to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
During your preconception counseling appointment, your doctor will discuss a variety of concerns with you and your partner, if you have one. Topics of discussion can include:
- Hereditary conditions that might be inherited by the baby
- Health conditions and concerns of the mother-to-be
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet
- Safe exercises for pregnancy
- Cessation of tobacco products, alcohol and other drugs
- Important immunizations for both mother and child
- Ways for the partner to be supportive during pregnancy
- Any other concerns the patient, partner or doctor might have
Seeing a doctor regularly throughout pregnancy is always important. It is also just as important to schedule time with your doctor to discuss various concerns before becoming pregnant. Preconception counseling can help you achieve optimal health for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.