When you’re considering expanding your family, it doesn’t have to be something you do alone! A pre-pregnancy consultation can help you clarify your goals and understand what to expect (before you’re expecting). These consultations are also designed to help you and your doctor maximize your future baby’s health.
Even if you’re not actively trying to get pregnant, a pre-pregnancy consultation can be wise if you’re open to the possibility. For instance, preparing to go off your birth control can be a good signal to schedule one.
Here are six benefits of getting a pre-pregnancy consultation:
- Start managing your health with pregnancy in mind
- Evaluate genetic risks
- Screen for infections and check on vaccines
- Talk about mental health
- Set up safe home and work environments
- Ask any pregnancy questions you have
Let’s explain what’s involved in these pre-pregnancy consultation goals.
Start managing your health with pregnancy in mind
When you’re getting ready to grow an entire human being, you want to make sure your body is up for the challenge. Here are some key areas to review with your provider during a pre-pregnancy consultation:
- Chronic diseases: Do you have a condition like diabetes, heart or kidney disease, a seizure disorder, hypertension, or an autoimmune condition? Do they pose a risk? Are they properly managed?
- Medications: Are you taking any prescriptions or OTC meds? Are they safe for pregnancy?
- Diet: Are you eating a wide variety of foods that are healthy for pregnancy? (Tip: change your eating habits and learn new recipes before you’re pregnant, so you have an easier time adjusting.)
- Vitamins/supplements: Talk about the importance of taking a folic acid supplement to prevent birth defects, as well as your nutrition and any vitamins or supplements you take to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of vital nutrients.
- Substance use: Cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs are all off the table during pregnancy, so work on quitting beforehand if necessary.
- Weight: Having a high or low BMI increases the risk of complications, so chat about ensuring you’re at a healthy weight for your body type.
Evaluate genetic risks
Every parent hopes for a healthy baby, but knowing your genetics will help you make informed decisions. Your doctor may discuss this or refer you to a genetic counselor to help you understand the possibility of congenital disabilities, health issues, or other genetic conditions that run in your family.
Screen for infections and check on vaccines
During your pre-pregnancy consultation, your doctor will likely want to make sure you’re up to date on vaccines like MMR and chickenpox. They may also order lab tests for STIs, as it’s essential to diagnose and treat any infections before becoming pregnant.
Talk about mental health
Postpartum depression and anxiety affect many women after they’ve given birth. While it can affect anyone, you may be especially susceptible if you’ve experienced mental health struggles before pregnancy. Be honest with your doctor about how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally. They can help you review your options, decide whether to pursue treatment before trying for a baby, explain whether certain medications are safe during pregnancy, and other considerations when planning a pregnancy with a mental health concern.
Set up safe home and work environments
As a pregnant woman, you’ll need a space that’s safe, peaceful, and comfortable. During your pre-pregnancy consultation, your doctor can go over possible hazards you’ll want to avoid, including cat litter boxes (someone else gets scooping duty this year!), cigarette smoke, X-ray or chemical exposure at work, etc. They may also ask about your relationship to make sure you’re feeling safe and supported as you explore parenthood together.
Ask any pregnancy questions you have
When should I stop birth control? How do I track when I’m ovulating? Can I keep my exercise routine during pregnancy? Should I schedule a doctor’s appointment as soon as I get a positive test? A pre-pregnancy visit is a great time to ask these kinds of questions!
If you’re a woman in the Beaver Dam, WI area, we’d love to welcome you to our clinic for a pre-pregnancy consultation. Request an appointment online or by phone today.