Preconception Counseling

preconception counseling
Good prenatal care and preventative medicine begin before trying to get pregnant. The first preconception counseling appointment should occur 4 months or so before attempting to conceive.
Patients considering pregnancy should be on a vitamin (either a multivitamin or a specific prenatal vitamin) with 0.4 mg (400 µg) of folic acid beginning at least 3 months before pregnancy. Folic acid helps to prevent neural tube defects. More specific information can be found through the March of Dimes.

Equally as important, this consultation is a chance to discuss problems in previous pregnancies, social issues, environmental exposures, and general health. If not recently done, we will check routine prenatal blood tests, including titers for vaccinations, blood count and blood type, thyroid testing, and infectious disease screening.

We recommend routine genetic screening for autosomal recessive diseases during preconception counseling. These include cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell anemia, thalassemia, Tay Sachs, and more than 100 others.  Appropriate counseling will be provided for all results of this testing. If necessary, we will arrange for you to consult with a high-risk obstetrician prior to undergoing treatment.

Basic Recommendations Prior to Pregnancy:

  • Eliminate, if possible, the intake of alcohol
  • Limit intake of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, and soda
  • Avoid the use of recreational drugs such as marijuana
  • Avoid the use of prescribed and over-the-counter medications that may be harmful to a developing pregnancy
  • Avoid exposure to industrial chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides
  • Maintain good personal hygiene and health practices.
  • Attempt to maintain a body weight ideal for your height