Today, pre-pregnancy counseling is an option available to couples who want to start a family. Pre-pregnancy counseling intends to educate parents-to-be on how to plan for a healthy and happy pregnancy before they conceive a baby.
At Newton-Wellesley, our OB/GYN physicians counsel and educate couples looking to start or grow their families. They advise on what constitutes a healthy pregnancy, how to achieve optimum health, and how to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for both mother and baby.
What to Expect
During your pre-pregnancy consultation, you can expect to discuss the following with your OB/GYN physician:
- Any family planning measures you have in place
- A plan for achieving a healthy body weight to ensure a comfortable pregnancy
- Screening and treatment for any infectious diseases that you may have previously contracted, as some infections can cause problems in conceiving.
- A review of family history and risk factors that could affect you or the baby
- A review of your immunization history so that appropriate updates can be made
- A review of all your current medications to check which ones could harm the baby or cause congenital disabilities. Appropriate alternatives may be suggested, or you may ask your primary care doctor for recommendations.
During the consultation, the doctor may offer recommendations on lifestyle changes to help you get to optimum health. This could include the following suggestions:
Quit smoking. Smoking during pregnancy is known to harm the unborn child.
Lose or gain weight. Being at a good body mass index (BMI) before you become pregnant will help you stay physically comfortable throughout your pregnancy.
Change your diet. Establishing healthy eating habits before your pregnancy will ensure your nutrition levels are designed to give your baby the best advantage from the beginning of conception. A diet high in mercury can affect the development of the fetus and is generally discouraged during pregnancy.
Take prenatal vitamins. Taking folic acid supplements before you are pregnant will increase levels in your body. Folic acid helps in the development of the baby’s brain during pregnancy.
Change medications that are harmful during pregnancy. Inform your doctor about any medication you might be taking. Even if it is considered natural. Certain medicines have been known to lead to birth complications or can harm the unborn child. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice before taking any unapproved medicines before and during pregnancy.
Your doctor is likely to carry out a physical examination during your session that includes:
- A pelvic exam (sometimes this will include a pap smear)
- A heart, lung, and thyroid check
- A record of your weight and blood pressure
Lab Tests may be ordered based on your age, health, and family history. Blood tests can help identify an iron deficiency, high blood sugar, or thyroid issues.
Health problems like hypertension or diabetes can cause complications for the mother and child. However, this does not mean that someone with hypertension or diabetes cannot get pregnant. It just means that your doctor will advise you on precautions and preparatory treatment you might need so that your condition is under control before you become pregnant. The intention is always to ensure that you are at your healthy best and enjoy a safe and happy pregnancy.
Pre-Pregnancy Counseling at Newton-Wellesley
Establishing a lifestyle that encourages a physically fit body and mind is the best way to start your pregnancy. Our OB/GYN doctors at Newton-Wellesley can help you achieve just that. Call us in Newton at (617) 332-2345 or Walpole at (508) 668-5555 to schedule a consultation. For your convenience, you may also request an appointment online.