To ensure that your pregnancy is smooth and your baby receives the best of care, you should consult a doctor for pre-pregnancy counselling. Preconception care involves the assessment of any risks to the mother as well as the baby and addresses any medical issues before they arise.
Preconception therapy exists not to instil anxiety in prospective parents but to reassure and provide the best possible care. Couples should ideally seek out preconception therapy three months before they decide to try for conception.
Talking to a qualified healthcare professional will not only help ease the process but also prepare you emotionally for the long journey ahead. CK Birla Hospital offers the best hospital for pregnancy in Gurgaon and can address your pregnancy-related needs and concerns.
What Does Pre-Pregnancy Counselling Entail?
In order to begin preconception therapy, you must book an appointment for the same. A typical counselling session will entail a discussion of the following topics:
Your Medical History
It is essential to discuss your medical history with your doctor. Health problems, whether in the past or present, may impact your pregnancy. Women with diabetes or chronic hypertension may require special care during their pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will also discuss any surgeries you might have undergone in the past that could lead to complications during pregnancy.
Your Reproductive History
This includes details of previous pregnancies, use of contraceptives, menstrual health, vaginal infections and any sexually transmitted diseases.
You will also undergo a comprehensive physical examination as part of the therapy appointment where pap smears, cervical cultures and blood tests will be conducted to ensure that you are in the best health for your pregnancy.
If you have undergone any surgical procedures, especially gynaecological procedures, the details of those will also be discussed as they might impact your care during pregnancy.
Family Health Or Genetic Counselling
A crucial part of preconception therapy is taking a close look at health problems that run in your family, such as diabetes, hypertension, etc. This also includes looking at instances of congenital disabilities like spina bifida, cystic fibrosis or intellectual disabilities like Down Syndrome and other genetic problems that might exist in your family tree that might impact your baby.
Your doctor can further conduct genetic profiles for you and your partner if required. Pregnancy-related complications that might run in your family need to be examined in advance so that you receive the best care.
Certain medications may impact the developing baby in less than ideal ways, and thus, it is imperative to discuss the medicines you are taking with your doctor. Often, you might have to replace certain drugs or supplements or stop taking them for the duration of the pregnancy to prevent any congenital disabilities.
It is essential to be up to date on your vaccinations. In case you have missed out on certain vaccines like chickenpox or measles, you will be required to get them immediately and asked to delay conception.
Your weight has a significant impact on your baby. An underweight mother will result in the low birth weight of your baby, and the same applies if you are overweight. It is recommended that you reach your ideal weight before trying to conceive.
You can consult your doctor regarding the best nutrition for you, both pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy. Generally, a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals is recommended. You might also be prescribed a vitamin supplement by the doctor.
One extremely essential nutrient that healthcare practitioners prescribe to women trying to conceive is folic acid. Generally, 400 micrograms of folic acid are recommended. Folate can drastically lower the risk of babies developing neural tube defects.
You will have to provide details of your job and your workplace. Depending on the kind of work you do, you might be exposed to different and potentially hazardous chemicals and pathogens that might impact your pregnancy. You must be aware of these environmental factors well in advance.
Your doctor may also talk to you about your daily fitness regimen. In case you don’t have one, your doctor can recommend the best exercises for you to stay in good health, along with workout routines to avoid.
You might be asked to avoid certain high-risk activities like scuba diving and contact sports. Saunas and hot tubs are also not recommended for pregnant women as they increase the risk of hyperthermia for the baby.
Your doctor will also ask about other lifestyle habits such as your consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs. Certain practices may need to be stopped entirely for the duration of the pregnancy in order to give your baby the best health.
The final lifestyle change that several doctors recommend is decreasing your caffeine consumption. Depending on your habits, your doctor might recommend adjusting the amount you consume.
As mentioned earlier, apart from a basic physical examination, you might also be asked to undergo certain lab tests. This is done to ensure that you have no underlying conditions that might seriously endanger your health and that of your baby’s.
One of the most commonly tested-for infections is rubella. Rubella can cause severe growth and intellectual impairments, cardiac problems, deafness and cataract in the baby. A few other potentially deadly diseases you might be tested for are HIV, hepatitis and syphilis.
Preconception counselling might help mothers identify risks that they were previously unaware of and explore safe and effective ways to conceive. While the process seems nerve-wracking, it is important to remember that most pregnancies are completed without any significant complications.
It generally takes couples anytime between six months to a year after starting to try for a baby to get pregnant. With preconception care, you can ensure that you have a clean bill of health for your future pregnancy.