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Pregnancy & Preconception Counseling Specialist

Southern Connecticut Women's Health Care Associates -  - OB-GYN

Southern Connecticut Women's Health Care Associates

OB-GYNs located in Milford, CT & Westport, CT

At Southern Connecticut Women’s Health Care Associates, your health is our top priority. Having a safe, happy, and healthy pregnancy begins well before your positive pregnancy test. Whether you’re a first time expecting parent, or you have older kids at home, there’s a good chance you have questions and concerns. Or, maybe you’re hoping to learn some new tips to make your pregnancy more enjoyable. Our trained obstetricians will provide you with the care and support you need to guide you through this exciting time

Pregnancy & Preconception Counseling Q & A

What is Pre-conceptual Counseling?

Pre-conceptual counseling is a conversation between a woman and her doctor to prepare her for pregnancy. In this appointment, we discuss family history, risks factors, medical conditions, and lifestyle. Your family history and your partners can provide information on potential genetic disorders or diseases that can be passed onto your child. Understanding your medical history helps your obstetrician provide the best possible care for you and your baby. This information also helps our providers determine if additional testing is needed and if you have any conditions that could increase your chance of complication. Specific medical history to share with your doctors includes, but is not limited to:

  • Hypertension¬†
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol/ Drug use
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Birth Defects (congenital conditions)
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Ethnic-related diseases (i.e. Sickle Cell Anemia or Tay-Sachs)

This process is an opportunity for women to discuss any questions or concerns they may have so that they feel at ease. Additionally, this process provides women with an action plan to prepare their bodies for a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy. For some, this may mean quitting cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs, and adopting a healthier diet, or losing/gaining weight to decrease the chances of having a high risk pregnancy. It can also mean changing birth control so that your body is primed to become pregnant. Some forms of birth control, like a hormonal IUD may require upwards of a year's time before it is safe for you to become pregnant.

Do I Have to Go to Pre-conceptual Counseling?

Pre-conceptual counseling is optional, but it is highly recommended. These visits are designed to help you become your healthiest self-physically and emotionally-while preparing for pregnancy. Although beautiful, pregnancy is a very physical and emotional journey. Your body changes, you may have morning sickness, pain, and cramps. You may also find that you are unable to sleep. Pre-conceptual counseling gives you the support you need to improve your body, health, and lifestyle before you become pregnant.

Can My Partner Come to the Preconception Counseling Visit?

We're following the most up to date guidelines per the CDC and ACOG. Currently, we cannot allow partners to come to these visits, but we're working hard to make these visits more accessible to your partner. We now offer telehealth options to make these visits more accessible to your partner. It takes two people to make a baby, and we understand how important your partner's health is too. Plus, if you need to make lifestyle changes, working together to achieve those changes is easier.

What Will Happen at the Counseling Sessions?

Aside from asking questions about your health, the doctor will order urine samples and lab tests to screen for conditions like HIV, HPV, and other STDs that may present challenges during pregnancy. Your doctor will also discuss genetic counseling, carrier screening, and how to chart menstrual cycles to detect ovulation and determine the time at which you are most likely to get pregnant.

What Happens Once I Become Pregnant?

Once you are pregnant, you will receive prenatal care and assessment throughout the duration of your pregnancy. This service begins with lab screening and is followed by an ultrasound of your baby. The goal of these visits is to ensure a healthy pregnancy for both the mom and the baby. The first-trimester evaluation is thorough and extensive. It covers testing your blood type, looking for Rh factors and measuring hemoglobin as an indicator of anemia. In addition, your blood screening checks for your body's resistance to certain types of infections such as chickenpox.

What Will Prenatal Exams Be Like?

The doctor will see you as frequently as necessary. During a typical prenatal exam, our medical assistant will take your blood pressure and weight and ask you if anything has changed since your last visit. You will also be asked to provide a urine sample. The doctor will examine you and will then give you the chance to discuss any issues or concerns that you might have. If necessary, an ultrasound will be done that will help identify any issues that your baby may be having. You will see the doctor as often as necessary during your pregnancy, but usually, you will have between 13 and 16 visits.

What Kind of Normal Discomforts Might I Expect During Pregnancy?

One of the biggest complaints women have is that they feel awkward during their pregnancy. This is because the body changes a lot while supporting another life. Another common complaint that women have is that their breasts hurt or ache. During the first trimester, nausea is common, and can often include sporadic vomiting. The important thing for women to understand is that our obstetricians are available for questions, care, and sometimes just to listen.