We Care For Both Mother And Child
You can begin preparing for a healthy, safe, and happy pregnancy before you have a positive result on a test. Caring for your health before becoming pregnant helps you develop and grow a healthy baby.
Advances in clinical care over the past 10 years have tested and proven the importance of assessing your health condition before becoming pregnant. Our healthcare team has the experience to monitor and manage any early warning signs of health issues before and during pregnancy. Learn more about how we care for our patients at Northside/Northpoint OB-GYN here.
What Is Preconception Counseling?
Preconception counseling and care optimizes a woman’s health before pregnancy.
Preconception counseling is a scheduled visit with your healthcare provider, where you plan for a healthy pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will support and help you practice routines and medical care that improve health outcomes for both mother and child.
A preconception counseling appointment is an essential part of a planned and healthy pregnancy. Your family history, medical conditions, risk factors, and lifestyle will all be discussed.
Your appointment should happen at least 3 months before you start trying to get pregnant.
What will my provider discuss during my preconception counseling appointment?
During your visit, your healthcare provider will discuss the following topics:
Past Medical History: Your family history—and your partner’s family history—can provide insight about genetic conditions that may be passed on to your child. Understanding your medical past can help your healthcare provider treat you and your child in the future. This information may also tell your provider if they need to perform extra tests or watch out for the development of certain conditions during your pregnancy.
Specific parts of your family medical health history to share with your provider could include a history of :
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Congenital disabilities.
- Mental disorders.
- Ethnic-related diseases (sickle trait/sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs).
- Twins or multiples.
Your Medical History: Your provider needs to see the whole picture of your health before pregnancy. During your appointment, your provider will want to discuss:
- Any allergies.
- Any medications you may currently be taking.
- Any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Surgeries, transfusions, or hospitalizations you may have had in the past.
Your OB/GYN History: Your provider will ask you about your OB/GYN history during the discussion of your medical history. For instance, some vaginal infections and STDs can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. Your provider may do blood tests or cervical cultures to ensure there are no infections that could cause issues during your conception or pregnancy. Specific topics that may be discussed include:
- Contraceptive use.
- Any previous pregnancies.
- Your menstrual history.
- Pap smears.
- Any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Vaginal infections.
- Any history of known uterine abnormalities.
Your Lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle is vital during pregnancy. This includes a balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise, and stopping any drug use and smoking, as well as exposure to any dangerous environmental hazards.
Vaccination: Bring your vaccination records with you to your appointment. Your provider may need to update your vaccinations before you become pregnant. Some of these vaccinations can require time between when they are given to you and when you become pregnant.
What happens during my preconception counseling appointment?
During preconception counseling, your provider may do some tests. These tests may include:
Your physical exam: Your provider may do a physical exam during your preconception appointment. This exam may involve your provider:
- Doing a pelvic exam.
- Checking your lungs, heart, breasts, thyroid, and abdomen.
- Recording your weight.
- Checking your blood pressure.
Lab tests: These tests check for various conditions and diseases. Lab tests may include:
- A pap smear.
- Testing for thyroid issues.
- Testing for HIV.
- Testing for rubella.
- Testing for hepatitis.
- Complete blood count (CBC).
- Diabetes screening.
Also, your provider may discuss how to chart your menstrual cycles. You may get a prenatal vitamin with 500 to 800 micrograms of folic acid. Your baby will benefit from a prenatal vitamin before you know you are pregnant.
What types of tests will my partner and I go through during preconception counseling?
Your provider may suggest that both you and your partner schedule for genetic counseling before conceiving, especially there is a family history of certain genetic conditions. This process will provide helpful information to your healthcare team.
Genetic counseling can also pinpoint specific risk factors that your provider can discuss with you and help plan for. You may also be tested for certain genetic conditions like sickle trait/sickle cell disease or Tay-Sachs. These medical conditions are often passed down throughout families.
What happens after my preconception counseling appointment?
Your provider may make some suggestions after your appointment. These could be a mix of healthcare suggestions and lifestyle changes, including:
- Updating your immunizations.
- Avoiding extra stress.
- Losing weight.
- Quitting smoking or drinking.
- Taking recommended vitamins (including prenatal vitamins).
- Not taking any medications that could be harmful to your pregnancy (always speak to your doctor before starting or stopping a medication).
- Seeing specialists for health problems before conceiving.
Prepare Your Lifestyle For A Healthy Pregnancy
Establishing a nutritious diet before you’re pregnant can help you maintain good eating habits throughout all three trimesters. Good nutrition during your pregnancy is needed for your baby to develop and grow.
- During your pregnancy, you need to consume about 300 more calories per day.
- It’s also important to stay hydrated and maintain a good diet of healthy food.
- During pregnancy, you can continue to exercise. Regular exercise (at least three times a week) is preferred over altering between periods of being active and inactive. And, be mindful, pregnant women should stop exercising when fatigued and not exercise to exhaustion.
To learn more about our preconception counseling and care services or to schedule an appointment, please call our main office at (404) 255-3633. You can also use our online Request an Appointment form. Our patients come to us from the area of Buckhead in Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Dunwoody, Roswell, Forsyth, Cumming, and North Atlanta in Fulton County, GA.