During a preconception visit or a well woman check you will be educated and possibly screened on the following issues:
- Chronic Illness
- Sexually Transmitted Disease (including HIV)
- Dental work needed?
- Routine Lab Work (rubella status, blood type, anemia status, etc.)
- Immunizations up-to-date?
- Prenatal vitamins during the preconception period
- Genetics (family history, age, potential screenings)
While the above suggestions may seem normal and standard, many families leave out the screenings for emotional and behavioral problems that will effect pregnancy.
- Stress levels and reduction, if necessary
- Psychological problems
- Current medications to be adjusted for the trying to conceive?
- History of current or past family violence
- Family and social support
Previous Pregnancy & Family Planning
Your previous pregnancies may be mentally and emotionally weighing on your mind, and in your decision to have another child. It may also give you a glimpse into the care your will require in future pregnancies, either to encourage another healthy pregnancy or to try and avoid previous complications.
If you've experienced infertility or pregnancy loss, you may wish to inquire about testing and education or even counseling to help you deal with the trauma of both of these.
Family planning also can have an effect on new pregnancies. For example, it's best to be off of any form of chemical birth control, like the pill, three months prior to conceiving. While many women have successful pregnancies there are some risks involved.
Lifestyle & Nutrition
- Do you need counseling on dietary management during pregnancy?
- How is your weight? If you are overweight or underweight are you willing to correct this prior to pregnancy?
- Does the mother or anyone in the immediate family have a substance abuse problem?
- Are there socioeconomic risks? (This can lead to preterm birth, and low birth weight in some families.)
- Are you aware of potential environmental hazards in your home?
Work Related Hazards
Are you familiar with the chemicals and hazards you face at work? Many women are concerned with problems like miscarriage from the use of computers, or from chemicals that they deal with on a regular basis. If you work with chemicals, x-rays, VDTs, or anything else that concerns you, bring this up with your doctor or midwife prior to pregnancy. It may be safe for you to continue your job for the entire pregnancy, or a portion of your pregnancy or you may need to take special precautions while pregnant. Your practitioner will be able to help you find the information you need to make an informed decision.
A healthy pregnancy is what many women will experience and many of the complications that occur will be out of your control. But you do have the ability to control certain factors and reduce your risks of certain complications. You may, through preconceptional counseling, discover ways to be prepared for potential complications prior to pregnancy. Overall, preconceptional counseling is there to ease your mind and your journey to parenthood.