A preconception visit is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy to ensure you are healthy when you do become pregnant.

There are a number of health conditions and lifestyle habits that can have a significant impact on your pregnancy and the health of your baby, so it is important to address these prior to pregnancy. Every woman should schedule a preconception visit, even if they have had a baby before. Preconception visits are even more important for women who have a family history of genetic conditions, have a child with prematurity or birth defects, or have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.

At a preconception visit, there are a few things your provider will discuss:

  • Chronic medical conditions, such as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These medical conditions should be managed prior to pregnancy in order to stay healthy during pregnancy and while your body is going through a lot of change.
  • Current medications. Your provider may change your medications, as some can be harmful during pregnancy and to your baby’s development.
  • Diet and lifestyle habits, such as alcohol, drug, and tobacco use. These substances are harmful during pregnancy and to the development of your baby. In order to prevent any harm, they should be discontinued before pregnancy.
  • Current birth control method and the menstrual cycle. Your provider can give advice about when to stop your current method, and when the best time to conceive is each month based on your menstrual cycle.
  • Fertility options. Together with your provider, you can create a plan to prepare for any obstacles that may arise while trying to conceive.
  • Prenatal Vitamins. Your provider may recommend beginning to take certain supplements and vitamins, such as folic acid, before pregnancy. These will ensure you and your baby are receiving the necessary vitamins and nutrition for growth.
  • Vaccinations. It is important to ensure you have all the protection needed to keep you and your baby healthy during pregnancy. Some vaccines cannot be administered during pregnancy, so it is important to get them before.

During the preconception visit, a physical exam and pelvic exam will be performed. Your provider may also perform a pap smear and blood work to fully understand your current health.

Preconception visits are a great way to prepare for pregnancy and take all the steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby-to-be!

All information is provided by:

March of Dimes