Preconception Counseling: Importance and Benefits

Preconception Counseling: Importance and Benefits
 - Hyderabad

Gynaecologist

Hyderabad   |   24 May 2024

In today's times, with a rapidly modernizing world, new opportunities are available for couples. This has been very rewarding and opened doors to new experiences for people in every part of the world. Conversely, any solution to a problem becomes a new one. In this new era of career-orientedness, self-awareness, and exploring life, conceiving a child has been increasingly delayed. Late marriages, delays in starting a family, lifestyle diseases, and insufficient time and attention to focus on health and procreation have started showing up. Often, people hesitate to take medical input for fear of the stigma attached to being labeled as 'infertile.' While it is being spoken about in the media, at least in most parts of India, it's still not addressed as a family or a medical issue. Many couples keep quiet about it till it's too late.

One way to break the dilemma for couples is through preconception counseling. It is the health promotion and education that a couple can get for themselves before getting pregnant. It generally includes risk assessment for potential complications during pregnancy, as well as the changes you can make to diminish your risk factors, such as increasing folic acid intake, cessation of harmful habits such as smoking and drinking, and management of medications that could compromise your baby's development.

Couples start preconception counseling after six months to one year of failed trials to get pregnant. Due to the trend of late marriages, there are many complications associated with conception; however, if you seek advice earlier than later, most complications can be avoided with the right approach.

Preconception counseling is necessary for every couple as the counseling session with your perceptive gynecologist will help the couple to know and prepare for a healthy pregnancy. While many centers will start treatment in the form of ovulation stimulation medically, IVF, IUI, etc., not sufficient attention is given to the dynamics of the marriage, readiness for having a family,emotional aspects of the stress and strain of daily life, and emotional and sexual intimacy-related issues. Preconception counseling is not just dealing with the physical aspects. Many times, the couple is healthy in most ways. The emotional, social, economic, and psychological aspects must also be addressed. Preconception counseling covers all those aspects at our centers.

We recommend preconception counseling 3-6 months before you begin to try to conceive.

Preconception screening helps to tackle and rule out the following:

  • Existing or emerging illnesses or diseases that might have gone undetected.
  • Existing risks to the mother to be during pregnancy.
  • Existing risks to the baby during pregnancy.

During the preconception screening, both partners are tested for :

  • Infectious diseases.
  • HIV, VDRL, HBsAg (Hepatitis B), HCV (Hepatitis C)
  • Rubella IgM & IgG
  • Routine blood studies like CBP to rule out anemia, blood grouping, and Rh typing.
  • pelvic ultrasound scan to evaluate the exact status of the uterus & ovary and vaginal examinations for any infections.

Lifestyle changes can prepare you for this life-enhancing event:

  • Maintain a healthy weight - parents should maintain a BMI < 25 kg/cm2.
  • Get active - Exercise significantly affects how healthy you are - 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and stop excessive intake of caffeine.
  • Manage stress with exercise, yoga, and meditation.
  • Quit smoking and tobacco.
  • Say 'NO' to alcohol.
  • Guard against Radiation exposure
  • Communicate with each other and family rather than trying to manage alone

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