Counseling before attempting pregnancy
Preconceptional counseling is intended to minimize the maternal and fetal risk, to prevent birth defects, and to provide high-risk women with information about the risk and available options.
Who benefits from preconceptional counseling?
Preconceptional counseling is useful for couples who are planning to become pregnant and want to be in peak condition to do so, or for women:
- With medical disorders (e.g. diabetes mellitus, phenylketonuria).
- With nutritional deficiencies (e.g., folate).
- Exposure to toxins or teratogens (e.g., cigarettes, alcohol, warfarin isotretinoin).
- Those with an obstetric history of isoimmunization, previous cesarean section, or preterm delivery.
Fertility problems are common, 10-15% of couples having problems achieving a pregnancy. Medical help should be sought if pregnancy is not achieved after 12 months or earlier (6 months) if the woman is over 35 years. Symptoms that also warrant an early consultation are: irregular or painful menstrual periods, past history of abdominal surgery or infection, abnormalities in the sperm like low volume or abnormal color and sexual problems.