Thinking about starting a family but have some questions about what to do (besides the obvious!) to get started? A preconception care appointment may be just what the doctor ordered. Midwife Amy Steers, ARNP, CNM explains what to expect during the appointment.
Why should a woman consider a preconception care appointment?
A preconception appointment is your opportunity to ask your provider questions about achieving pregnancy, what to expect from prenatal care, and steps you can take to achieve a healthy pregnancy. Your provider will discuss your medical history, your nutrition and exercise habits, genetic conditions and family history, and any substance use.
Depending on your history, what tests/checks might be recommended during the appointment?
- Checking for immunity to rubella and varicella (chicken pox)
- CBC (blood count)
- Pap test
- Screening tests for sexually transmitted infections
- Carrier screenings for inherited conditions such as cystic fibrosis sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and spinal muscular atrophy
How can you prepare for the appointment?
Bring a list of medications and supplements that you take. If possible, know the basics of your family medical history, especially for your mom, dad and siblings.
In addition to a preconception appointment, here are seven ways to prepare for becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy:
- Be active! Aim for exercise for at least 30 minutes, five or more times per week.
- Eat a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits and lean protein.
- Avoid fast food, processed foods, white carbs.
- Work toward a healthy weight.
- Stop using substances such as alcohol and marijuana before trying to conceive.
- If you have a chronic condition such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, an autoimmune disease, etc., work to get it in good control before becoming pregnant.
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement before you start trying to become pregnant.