Preconception Notions

Life has gone along well, you've settled into your home and finances are balanced. Now you and your partner are ready for the next, and perhaps biggest, decision of your lives together. You have decided that you are now ready to start a family. Congratulations. Your lives will be filled with good things and certainly will never be the same again.

Seeking The Consultation Of An OB/GYN

Once the decision is made, many couples turn to an OB/GYN for a consultation and preconception visit to ensure all goes well from before conception to after the birth. Women are taking more control than ever over their reproductive health and working together with a specialist on a personalized program helps to provide a quick and easy conception. The risk of miscarriage and birth defects can be reduced greatly through this practice alone.

During a preconception visit, the doctor will want to take a full and detailed medical and reproductive health history for both of you. Your own medical file will likely be in the hands of the doctor already. However, the history of your partner is necessary for the doctor to guide you both through the process. The doctor will request information about your partner's reproductive history, including how many children he has fathered and if any of those children have birth defects.

You Both Have History, Family & Personal

Family medical history has a profound effect on both parents-to-be and their potential offspring, not to mention the pregnancy itself. The doctor will ask if there are incidents of high blood pressure, diabetes, birth defects, cystic fibrosis or mental retardation in either family. Also, there will be questions about inherited diseases that have associated birth defects, such as Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, or Thalassemia.

At this point, the visit will become very personal as each of you will be asked about your own personal health history. Have either of you had or do you have a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea, syphilis or genital herpes? As a woman, it is important to know if there is an pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or infections of the reproductive tract. The doctor will also ask about heart disease and epilepsy. German measles and mumps can profoundly affect an unborn baby, so this information is also critical. There are questions about chronic health issues such as arthritis, colitis, weight problems and high cholesterol.

What Do You Do In Your Spare Time?

Lifestyle questions include information regarding your work environment and your leisure time. Do either of you drink, smoke, or use recreational drugs? What are your eating habits like? Do you take vitamins? If either of you work in an environment that is toxic, either chemically or otherwise, the doctor will need to know. If you own a cat, there is the potential for toxoplasmosis, an infection linked to cats that is particularly dangerous to pregnant women.

Top Questions To Ask The Doctor

Even though the doctor will likely ask the bulk of the questions, the preconception visit is a time for you to ask questions as well. You will want to know if any of the over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs you are taking will be problematic. If so, ask for alternatives that won't harm your chances for conception or your baby once you do conceive. Ask if there are any blood tests to measure immunities that you will need. Chicken pox and rubella are infections that are dangerous to an unborn baby. If you are unfamiliar with what to expect once you conceive, ask about pregnancy signs and symptoms.

Your diet and lifestyle may change as you do everything you can to ensure your pregnancy is healthy and your baby has the best chance ever.

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