What Happens During Preconception Counseling?

What Happens During Preconception Counseling?

Are you considering starting your family or adding another child to your existing family? If the answer is yes, right now, before you get pregnant, is the best time to meet with your health care provider for the healthiest start possible. 

At the primary care practice of Beth and Howard Braver, MD, we offer preconception counseling as part of our comprehensive well woman services. 

Many women wait to meet with their doctor until after they get a positive at-home pregnancy test, but preconception counseling offers many benefits for you and your baby. Here’s what you need to know about preconception counseling.   

Is preconception counseling the same as prenatal care?

No. These are two very different types of care. Prenatal care is the term used to describe the medical care you receive during your pregnancy and may involve at-home and in-office treatments and measurements, like taking vitamins or having ultrasounds.

Occurring before you conceive, preconception counseling involves education and guidance aimed to help you have a complication-free pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby. 

Both types of care play an important role in improving perinatal outcomes.

What can I expect during preconception counseling?

Each woman’s preconception counseling is slightly different based on her existing health and any relevant concerns. Generally, we use this time to discuss issues with both you and your partner so you can prepare for a healthy pregnancy. 

The goal of preconception counseling is to do our part to ensure the healthiest outcomes we can for both mother and child. We may give you advice on nutrition, lifestyle choices, and other factors that increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a full-term pregnancy.

One aspect of preconception counseling may include health screening tests. These screenings look for issues that could affect your baby’s health and development or your ability to conceive. 

Although the specific preconception screenings we order vary based on your individual health history, some common tests include screenings for:

Depending on your personal and family history or that of your partner, we may recommend additional tests that look for genetic or congenital disabilities, like cystic fibrosis.

Why consider preconception counseling?

Meeting with a health care expert as you plan your future family offers many benefits to both you and your unborn child. 

For example, based on the results of your preconception screenings, we may make recommendations that improve your overall health while reducing factors that might cause less-than-healthy outcomes for your baby or you. 

Other benefits of preconception counseling include:

Studies also show that preconception counseling contributes to lower risks of certain childhood cancers and lowers your child’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease later in life.  

If you’re thinking of having a baby, schedule a preconception counseling appointment with Beth and Howard Braver, MD, in Aventura or Hollywood, Florida.

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