Pre-conception counseling

Overview

The maternal-fetal medicine specialists at North Shore-LIJ Health System know that while planning a pregnancy is exciting, it can also be stressful. By the time a home pregnancy test is positive, critical developmental stages in pregnancy are already underway. If a woman has concerns about her health or the health of her baby, the best time to address these issues is the preconception period.

The Center for Preconception Care wants women to start off their pregnancies on the right foot and feel prepared for what is ahead.  When a patient speaks with one of the highly trained maternal-fetal medicine specialists, she will discuss her unique medical, obstetric, and family histories, and identify any potential risks to both mother and baby. The patient and the physician will make a plan so that she is well-equipped to begin this exciting time in her life. Once that pregnancy test is positive, the center’s specialists will utilize their expertise in maternal and fetal health, the latest technologies, and the newest available therapies to co-manage the high-risk aspects of pregnancy with the patient’s obstetrician.

Who should have preconception counseling?

Below are just some of the conditions that should be discussed at a preconception counseling visit during the weeks or months before a woman starts trying to conceive:

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease, or cancer
  • Obesity or a history of bariatric surgery
  • Advanced maternal age, over 35 years
  • Pregnancy complications in the past, such as preterm delivery, pregnancy loss or structural anomaly, fetal growth restriction, or preeclampsia
  • Hereditary diseases that run in the woman or her partner’s family
  • Use of a medication or herbal remedy that she is unsure about in pregnancy
  • Addiction to alcohol, drugs, and/or tobacco
  • Exposure to environmental or occupational hazards