Is preconception counseling beneficial?

Preconception counseling is consulting a general physician when a woman decides to conceive or get pregnant. When a woman conceives or gets pregnant, a lot of changes happen in the body. And hence the body needs to prepare itself for that. Therefore, usually, it should be done 3-4 months before the woman actually attempts to conceive. This is so because the medication or care suggested by the physician would take its own time to show its effect. It is more of a risk assessment which checks possibilities of occurrences of complications in pregnancy.

Let us go through brief information about what all is included in preconception counseling.

• Questions about lifestyle: Preconception counseling is not specifically related to reproductive organs but the overall body. A lifestyle of the person affects the entire body and health of the person.

• History of illness: Its imperative to know if there has been any history of illness in the woman or her family. If there is something worth considering or something which might become an obstacle in the pregnancy, then proper care is required for the same.

• Blood Tests: Any medical check-up is not complete without a blood test. Blood test often tells about certain diseases like for eg anemia. Anaemia makes body weak, and during pregnancy, it can become one of the reasons for complications. It requires a proper follow-up.

• Urine Sample Analysis: It is again an indicator of many important factors in pregnancy such as kidney health, protein content etc.

It plays a very important role in pregnancy. Usually for couples whose attempts to have children have failed previously. But many a time, couples are unable to undergo preconception counseling. It might be due to any reason. Most important reason being an unplanned pregnancy. Due to the unplanned pregnancy, many of the preconception counseling is missed. Preconception counseling is important because it controls a lot of things; for eg control of glucose before and after pregnancy can help a great deal in the prevention of miscarriage or stillbirth. Similarly, toxins like alcohol can cause great damage, and their effects too last long, so intake of the same need to be controlled well in advance.

Even in cases of infertility, couples should go for a full preconception counseling prior to infertility treatments. It would help them to a great extent. Men too are subject to preconception counseling.

Let us have a look on what all does the preconception counseling include:

•    Menstrual history

•    Previous pregnancies

•    Contraceptive use

•    Sexually transmitted diseases

•    Vaginal infections

•    Medical-surgical history

•    Family health history

•    Lifestyle habits

•    Use of caffeine

•    Home and workplace environment

Apart from the above-mentioned things, preconception counseling looks into many more things. Preconception counseling is definitely necessary and beneficial as well, especially for the couples who are facing problems in having a child.