Preconception counseling visit is used to identify factors that could affect your pregnancy. Identifying these factors before becoming pregnant allows you to take steps that can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. During this visit, you will be asked about your diet, medical and family history, medications you take, and any past pregnancies.
This visit should occur at least three months before you begin trying to get pregnant and may include a full physical examination including a Pap smear, cervical cultures, and a blood test. Other factors to consider during your preconception counseling visit include:
Preconception genetic testing, also referred to as carrier screening, can be performed to find out whether a couple is at risk for having a child with certain conditions, such as Tay Sach’s disease, sickle cell anemia, and cystic fibrosis. If both the male and female are carriers of a genetic disorder, there are procedures available in in vitro fertilization (IVF) known as preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) which drastically reduces the chances of passing these diseases to the child. If you and your partner are both carriers of a genetic disorder, it is best to discuss your pregnancy options with a genetic counselor.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A cervical culture or urine tests can be performed to determine if there is evidence of an infection that could hinder your ability to conceive.
In addition to regular wellness visits, a woman should begin taking prenatal vitamins that provide between 400 and 800 micrograms of folic acid. Studies have shown that taking prenatal vitamins can reduce the chance of having a baby with brain and spinal cord malformations called neural tube defects.
The prenatal vitamins should be supplemented with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Studies have shown that good fitness during conception and pregnancy result in a much easier labor and delivery. Maintaining a body weight of no more than 15% above or below ideal body weight will provide an optimal environment for fetal growth and development.
It is also important to evaluate their daily surroundings and habits when trying to get pregnant. Consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and/or using recreational drugs should stop once you begin trying to conceive. They all can have detrimental, lasting effects on your baby as its organs are developing, even before you know for sure if you are pregnant.
“Optimal care of the infertile couple involves compassion, science, and data-driven decisions.”
Why RMA of New York: Preconception Counseling
RMA of New York offers patients personalized, compassionate, and premium fertility care. As the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility of Mount Sinai Hospital, our team is dedicated to scientific discovery, graduate medical education, and patient-focused care. We are proud to be a member of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and of recognition as a Center of Excellence by US News & World Report.
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