Planning for Pregnancy With a Preconception Consultation

Woman with health care provider

Every couple wants the best beginning for their baby, and sometimes the best beginnings occur before birth and even conception.

Obstetrics providers at MU Health Care know the value of preparing both your mind and your body for pregnancy at a preconception consultation.

Lori Anderson, a certified nurse-midwife with MU Health Care, especially enjoys counseling women and couples who are planning on conceiving. Here, she explains what couples can expect during a preconception consultation.

What is a preconception consultation? Walk us through a typical appointment.

A preconception consultation is a visit with your obstetrics provider to discuss your current health, OB history, medications and social risks that may affect your fertility and/or early pregnancy.

A typical visit entails numerous questions about your medical history, your family’s medical history, your partner’s medical history, as well as your diet, exercise and lifestyle habits. It could also involve a physical exam and lab work — such as a Pap smear — if you are due for them.

How do preconception consultations help women better prepare for upcoming pregnancies? Describe the range of helpful insights women gain during a consultation.

Lori Anderson
Lori Anderson, MSN, CNM

Thinking about and planning your pregnancy is always a great step toward becoming a healthy mom and baby! Preconception counseling sets you up for being as healthy as possible.

Some of the insights you will gain during a consultation include: how to properly keep track of your menstrual periods, how often you should take pregnancy tests and which prenatal vitamins are best for you. You will also receive diet advice, exercise tips — what to do and how often to do it — as well as information that helps you prepare for your early weeks of pregnancy.

Who could benefit from a preconception consultation? Is this something every woman should schedule if she is considering pregnancy?

A preconception visit is a good idea for anyone who is planning on getting pregnant, but it is an especially good idea for first-time mothers and mothers who have ongoing medical issues.

The first trimester of pregnancy is when your baby is developing, so by being prepared and as healthy as possible from the beginning, you will give him or her the best chance of growing and flourishing.

Should partners also attend the consultation? What can they learn?

Partners should attend. They can learn what is necessary for a healthy pregnancy, what to expect and what to avoid — all while showing their partner they support her.

What do you find rewarding about providing preconception consultations?

I love preconception visits because I know I am meeting with women who are doing their best to have healthy pregnancies and babies. It is rewarding to see them return for their first OB appointments already taking their vitamins, eating nutritious diets, exercising and knowing what to expect. I also feel that establishing a relationship with your OB provider even before pregnancy gives you a sense of security that is important during this vulnerable time.