Preconception Check Up? Have You Had Yours?
Wondering what happens at a Preconception doctor’s appointment? With an emphasis on becoming your healthiest self – physically and emotionally, it’s the perfect opportunity to check for any potential risks to your or your baby during pregnancy and to address any health issues you may have before you try-to-conceive. So from your diet to prenatal supplements to genetic concerns, your Preconception checkup is ready for your now!
What Will Be Discussed?
- Reproductive History: Previous pregnancies, menstrual history, contraceptive use, previous smear tests, any sexually transmitted diseases or vaginal infections.
- Medical History: Any health issues or conditions that you presently have or have had.
- Current Medications: Discuss any prescription or over-the-counter medications, some medications can have birth defects as a side effect. Also discuss any herbal medicines or supplements you are taking.
- Family Health History: Are there any hereditary medical conditions that run in your family including diabetes, hypertension, blood clotting problems, heart rhythm abnormalities.
- Your Weight: A healthy weight before trying-to-conceive would be ideal. If you are underweight or overweight, this needs to be addressed and a plan put in place. Did you know being underweight can potentially increase the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby?
- Exercise: Discuss with your doctor what exercise you do or don’t do. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you can continue or need to decrease or modify your activities.
- Your Lifestyle: Do you smoke? How much alcohol do you consume? Do you use recreational drugs? These are just some of the lifestyle questions your doctor will discuss with you. This is confidential, so be open, remember this is to ensure your’s and your baby’s safety.
- Your Diet: What do you eat and drink? Do you have a nutritional deficiency? Your doctor will discuss the need to eat foods rich in fibre, rich in calcium, folic acid and other nutrients vital to supporting your fertility.
- Prenatal Supplements: At least 3 months prior to trying-to-conceive your doctor will advise you to take a folic acid supplement which helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects. The recommended dosage is 400 (mcg) per day, and other prenatal vitamins he will deem necessary.
Your doctor may want to:
- Perform a physical exam to assess your heart, lungs, breasts, thyroid and abdomen. He may also perform a pelvic exam and a pap smear may be required.
- Screen you for rubella, hepatitis, HIV or syphilis.
- Check on your vaccinations and if you are not safe from rubella or chickenpox , he may recommend delaying your attempts to conceive until you have had the appropriate vaccines.
- Counsel you on genetic counselling. If you fall in an older demographic or have a family history of birth defects, your doctor can recommend further testing or the appropriate counselling.