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Preconception Counseling

Preconception Counseling

Having a safe, healthy, and happy pregnancy begins well before you become pregnant. Preconception services at BirthRight Fertility by Rainbow Hospitals help you discuss many aspects of optimizing your health and plan for a healthy pregnancy. While all women planning to get pregnant should attend the clinic, it is important for women with pre-existing diseases, like hypertension, epilepsy, diabetes etc, to avail these services. The preconception visit also helps you avoid an unplanned pregnancy by giving you contraception choices.

Doctors are sometimes consulted by women who state their intentions to "start a family" and ask for advice and a check-up. This provides a window of opportunity for health promotion, as it is thought that women are very motivated to alter unhealthy lifestyles at this time. The doctors and specialists at BirthRight Fertility by Rainbow Hospitals, recognise that families come in many shapes and sizes, and the route to becoming parents can be varied and sometimes challenging. Our sole aim is to help you understand more about starting a family and being successful at it.

- Our aim is to reduce any risk of health issues with the fetus, woman and neonate. We work with the woman for optimizing health, educating about healthy pregnancy and addressing risk factors.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes, thyroid, hypertension and psychiatric illness can be an issue with pregnancy outcomes, which is why they need to be managed optimally before pregnancy
- We also preview any medication you take, including herbal products or nutritional supplements that can affect pregnancy and reproduction
- Screening for genetic conditions is also available prior to getting pregnant
- Your immunization status will be assessed as well
- We will also assess if screening for sexually transmitted infection might be necessary
- If you have potential exposure to infectious diseases, you will be counselled regarding the waiting time before attempting conception
- You will be asked about your use of drugs, alcohol and nicotine products
- Screening for your partner will also be considered
- We will encourage preconception folic acid supplementation to reduce the risk of neural tube defects
- You will also be counselled about your diet and vitamin supplementation to make sure you have the recommended daily intake
- We also encourage our patients to attain a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) before you attempt to become pregnant, since abnormal BMI is associated with pregnancy complications and infertility.

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What is pre conception counselling?

The process of having a healthy pregnancy long before you get a positive pregnancy test. Before you get pregnant, you need to care for your health to prepare for the pregnancy. Pre conception counselling is an appointment with the healthcare provider at our family planning hospital where different aspects of pregnancy are discussed and a healthy pregnancy is planned.

When should I make an appointment for pre conception counselling?

We recommend you to make an appointment for pre conception counselling at least 3 months before you start trying to conceive. This way, if needed," 

What will be discussed during my appointment?

The following topics will be mainly discussed during your pre conception counselling appointment:

Family history: The family history of you and your provider and potentially provide information on any genetic disorders or conditions that may be potentially passed on to your future child. With an understanding of your medical history, we can better treat you and your child. This information may also help determine if additional tests may be needed to check for certain conditions being developed during pregnancy.

Particularly, you should inform us about the family history of the following conditions:
Hypertension or high blood pressure
Mental disorders.

Birth defects or congenital conditions
Twins or multiples.
Ethnic-related diseases like sickle cell disease

Your medical and OB/GYN history: You should discuss your medical history of any surgery, hospitalization or transfusion you may have had previously. You also need to inform us about any allergies, pre-existing medical conditions and medications that you might be currently taking. Your OB/GYN history is an important part of your medical history. Vaginal infections and STDs can potentially affect the ability of a woman to conceive.

Blood tests or cervical cultures may be performed to check for infections. OB/GYN topics you should discuss include:
Any previous pregnancies.
Your menstrual history.
Any sexually transmitted diseases
Contraceptive use.
Any history of known uterine abnormalities.
Vaginal infections.
Pap smears or treatment for abnormal pap.

Vaccination: You should bring your records of vaccination to the appointment. You may be updated or given additional vaccinations before becoming pregnant. Use of certain vaccinations may require you to wait for a certain period of time before you get pregnant.

What is covered in a pre-conception counselling appointment?

We may perform several tests during your pre conception counselling, including:

Physical examination: This involves:
Recording your weight.
Checking your lungs, heart, breasts, abdomen and thyroid
Performing a pelvic exam.
Checking your blood pressure.

Lab tests: These tests are done to check for numerous conditions and diseases and it includes:
Testing for hepatitis.
Testing for rubella.
Complete blood count
Diabetes screening.
Pap smear
Testing for HIV.
Testing for thyroid issues.
We may also advise you to take prenatal vitamins with 400-800 micrograms of folic acid. These supplements can benefit the baby even before you know you are pregnant

Do I need to undergo Genetic tests?

You as well as your partner are advised to undergo genetic counselling before you conceive, particularly if you are already aware of a genetic condition running in your family. It helps determine any possible risk factors that may arise during pregnancy.

What do I need to do after my pre conception counselling appointment?

During your appointment at our family planning hospital, we might make several suggestions which you will need to implement.

Losing weight.
Avoiding or smoking drinking.
Avoiding medications that could potentially be harmful to your pregnancy
Updating your immunizations.
Taking the recommended vitamins and prenatal vitamins
Avoiding excessive stress.
Consulting with specialists for specific health problems before conceiving.

What other changes do I need to implement while I prepare for conception?

You can continue exercising while you are pregnant. It is better to exercise regularly rather than being intermittently active. However, a pregnant woman shouldn’t exhaust themselves through exercise and stop when they feel fatigued. You must remember to stay hydrated. Also, a healthy and well-balanced diet is extremely important. Good nutrition is needed during pregnancy for the growth and development of your baby. Establishing a good diet before getting pregnant can help maintain good eating habits throughout pregnancy.