The journey to a healthy baby starts even before the baby is conceived. That’s why it is essential to be physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the journey called motherhood.
Being prepared helps not just with conception, but also with a healthy pregnancy.
An important step in this preparation is preconception counselling. This is essentially a checkup and discussion with your gynaecologist (OB-GYN) before you start trying for a baby, and this should not be confused with infertility treatment.
Preconception counselling is not very popular in India, but becomes very important, especially in the following circumstances:
1. Either of the partners has a genetic condition or disorder themselves or in the family, which might get passed on to the child. In such a case, genetic counselling is advised.
2. The woman has had issues with past pregnancies or has a family history (her mother or sisters) of miscarriages.
3. The woman has chronic health issues or other health issues which may impact conception or pregnancy.
4. The woman’s general fitness level is not very good and, or she suffers from nutritional deficiencies.
5. There are lifestyle risks such as smoking, addictions which can have an adverse impact during pregnancy.
6. Either of the partners suffers from any STD.
Preconception counselling may include a medical checkup and counselling, advice on lifestyle and nutrition, genetic counselling and detailed medical tests if required. This is also an opportunity to discuss any fears and apprehensions that you may have regarding the conception and pregnancy. This kind of counselling goes a long way in ensuring you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
It is a good idea to carry your and your partner’s past health checkup records, medical history, and current medication details (if any) and review your family history for chronic health conditions as well as genetic conditions. This will help make the discussion with the gynaecologist more informative and useful.
Do meet your OB-GYN and have the talk once you decide to plan for a baby. Trust me, it goes a long way and helps in considerably reducing the stress of the unknown and in making the entire journey to motherhood more comfortable.
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