Reviewing the overall health of you and your partner before conception helps you make healthy choices for both you and your baby. All women are recommended to visit their doctor for a pre-pregnancy counselling appointment to check for possible risk factors that could affect your chances of conceiving or having a normal pregnancy. Following the counselling, you can address and resolve any medical issues that you may have before you conceive.
At your pre-pregnancy counselling, your health care provider may discuss the following with you:
- Medical history: your past or existing medical conditions and allergies, over-the-counter and prescribed medications you are currently taking, previous surgeries and reasons for hospitalisation
- Family history: medical, congenital, genetic and ethnic-related conditions that run in your family such as diabetes, hypertension, deafness, blindness and mental retardation
- Lifestyle habits: lifestyle habits such as drinking, smoking or use of recreational drugs, stress, diet and exercise, which can influence your pregnancy
- OB/GYN history: menstrual history, sexually transmitted diseases, vaginal infections, previous pregnancies and contraceptive use
- Menstrual cycles: help determine the period during which you are most likely to get pregnant
- Home and workplace safety: exposure to X-rays, cat faeces, solvents or leads
Your doctor may also perform a physical examination, which includes assessment of your breasts, heart, abdomen, lungs, thyroid and pelvic examination. Your blood pressure will be checked, and weight measured. Lab tests such as complete blood count (CBC), rubella, Pap smear, HIV and hepatitis may also be ordered.
You will be prescribed prenatal vitamins with folic acid. Your health care provider may suggest lifestyle changes on the basis of the examination to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.