Pre-pregnancy Counselling in Melbourne
A pre-pregnancy counselling session can help you to prepare for pregnancy by taking into account your emotional and physical health. Conducted prior to conception, a doctor will investigate your well-being and discuss with you any medical issues. Your reproductive history will be discussed with reference to:
- Your menstrual cycle
- Obstetric history
- Vaginal infections
- Pap smear test results
- Contraceptive use
- Sexually transmitted diseases
Medical and Surgical History and Current Medications
It is important to discuss openly any prescription or over-the-counter medications as well as any herbal supplements you may be taking, as some may interfere with pregnancy or your ability to conceive. You should also mention any current or past health problems, as well as surgeries or hospitalisations, so your health can be managed effectively during pregnancy.
It is advised that prior to conception, you start taking folic acid supplements, as the chance of a neural tube defect in your baby will be reduced with in presence of folic acid.
You will need to inform your doctor of any multiple births in your family and any hereditary medical conditions, as they may influence your care during pregnancy.
Any potential hazards to conception or pregnancy will be discussed, and you will be informed of how to eliminate exposure to hazards such as:
- Toxic solvents
- Animal waste
It is best to be within a healthy weight range prior to conception, and strategies to achieve this will be discussed. An under-weight mother runs the risk of delivering low birth-weight baby and overweight mother is under risk of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. All risks and any concerns you have will be covered in your pre-pregnancy counselling session.
Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important, and even more so when pregnant or planning to be pregnant. Over the counselling session you will be advised on proper nutrition, consuming foods that are rich in calcium, folic acid, fibre and other nutrients, as well as reducing your intake of caffeine which can be found in coffee, soft drinks, chocolates and some medications.
You will be asked about the exercise that you do if any, and you may be advised to begin, continue or decrease the amount of exercise depending on your lifestyle. We will also discuss the effects certain habits will have on your pregnancy, habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption or the use of any recreational drugs. It will be advised that you and your partner should stop, or at least reduce, these habits for a healthy pregnancy.
Advice for Older Mothers
If you are over the age of 35 you will be counselled on the risks of infertility, abnormalities and complications that may occur. We may also recommend:
- Pap smear and pelvic examination
- Physical examination of your abdomen, breasts, heart, lungs and thyroid
- Screening for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, rubella and others
- Monitor menstrual cycles and ovulation in order to determine the best time to get pregnant
- Organise genetic counselling for older women and those with a hereditary disease risk to ensure you understand the chances of intellectual disability or birth defects.