Pre-conception counseling is a meeting with a health-care professional by a woman before attempting to become pregnant. This provides a window of opportunity for health education, as it is thought that women are very motivated to alter unhealthy lifestyles at this time. Pre conception counseling generally includes a pre-conception risk assessment for any potential complications of pregnancy as well as modifications of risk factors, such as increasing folic acid intake to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and counseling on smoking cessation, alcohol reduction, and medications that may compromise fetal development.
A Gynecologists Guidance: Pre Pregnancy Counseling
Obstetrician/gynecologists are often called on to provide diagnosis and treatment of disease, but they are routinely also called on to provide primary and preventive care. For many women, the only healthcare provider encountered in an entire year is their obstetrician/gynecologist. Responsibilities for preventive care include prevention counseling for the woman herself as well as education and counseling to promote the health of any pregnancies she may someday conceive.
Education is vital: Preconception counseling plays a key role in preparing for a pregnancy. In couples with a history of recurrent early pregnancy loss, counseling is of particular importance because women are invariably more distressed and require reassurance that everything possible is being done to avoid future pregnancy losses.
Women are more open to guidance: Because their subsequent pregnancies are more likely to be planned and these patients may be more willing to adopt recommendations that have been offered to them, it becomes more important to identify which investigations and interventions are the most beneficial. Several interventions ranging from genetic testing to lifestyle changes and medications may have a positive effect on the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Prepares a woman to manage heath issues: Early pregnancy monitoring and support increases the chances of a live birth and helps to predict potential future pregnancy complications. It is suggested that events that occur in the uterine decidua, even before a woman knows she is pregnant, may have a significant impact on fetal growth and the outcome of pregnancy. With this in mind, shifting future research and clinical practice to focus on the periconceptual period and the very early stages of pregnancy should offer significant benefits to the health of both the mother and her infant. The overall aim should be to effectively use every pregnancy as the health-care opportunity of two lifetimes.