Is a Preconception Checkup Really Necessary?

is-a-preconception-checkup-really-necessaryBy Michele Meyer for Baby + You

Is it really important to schedule a preconception checkup as soon as you’re thinking about getting pregnant? “Most women don’t even realize they’re pregnant until after the first crucial weeks have passed, when the baby’s organs have started to form,” says Nancy Eriksen, M.D., associate professor of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Texas at Houston. “A preconception checkup is absolutely vital for a person with a personal history of birth defects or an underlying medical condition.” Here are the reasons why a preconception checkup is essential for your pregnancy wellness:

Preconception Checkup Need No. 1: Assess your health risks.

If you have high blood pressure or diabetes — the latter of which can put your baby at up to triple the risk of birth defects — your OB-GYN can discuss what precautions you should take. Other conditions you’ll need to monitor include heart disease, asthma, lupus and epilepsy.

Preconception Checkup Need No. 2: Avoid dangerous drugs.

Some prescription drugs you’re taking may harm your baby, such as some antibiotics (tetracycline), blood thinners, antiseizure drugs (Dilantin), acne-preventives (Accutane) and blood-pressure reducers (ACE inhibitors). Your doc will also be able to offer a full rundown of the over-the-counter drugs that can be harmful to your baby, like aspirin, antihistamines and diet drugs.

Preconception Checkup Need No. 3: Prepare for baby’s risks.

Your OB-GYN can help you determine whether you and your partner should receive genetic screening for conditions you could pass on to your baby.

Preconception Checkup Need No. 4: Find the right supplement.

Getting the right vitamins is essential to a healthy pregnancy; your physician can help select the best supplement for you. A prenatal vitamin should contain 400 micrograms of folic acid, which prevents the birth defect spina bifida (a condition where baby’s spinal column does not properly close). If taken within four weeks of conception, folic acid thwarts this defect, which occurs in 1 in 1,000 births.

Preconception Checkup Need No. 5: Vaccinate against disease.

To protect your baby, you may need booster shots for the measles, mumps, tetanus, polio, rubella and hepatitis B. You should get these at least three months before becoming pregnant.

Preconception Checkup Need No. 6: Get in pregnancy shape.

Your doctor is your partner in pregnancy wellness: She can offer nutrition and exercise guidelines to assist you during this demanding time. And if you’re more than 20 pounds overweight, your physician can also help you safely shed weight to reduce your risk of a number of complications.

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For more pregnancy wellness tips, visit Baby + You.

Michele
Meyer
has contributed to SELF, Healthy Cooking, Diabetic Living, MORE and HealthMonitor.com.

What do you think?

Is a Preconception Checkup Really Necessary?

Tell us what you think!

34 comments

  1. Jenette says:

    I was told I couldn’t have any more children after my daughter was born so when we got that faint pink line after I had peed on the stick nearly three years later for laughs… I was scared that it wasn’t true. I waited four months before seeing a obgyn. Afraid that they would do an ultrasound and no baby would be there. But there was 🙂 a little healthy baby boy. My angel.

  2. Charlotte says:

    we didn’t plan our baby, and i didn’t know i was until it was way too late to make one of these appt. if i would have known i would have made an app.

  3. LIZ says:

    We didnt plan the baby i was so afraid at first that everything was good with her since we didnt do this, but tnx god everything went well

  4. kimberly says:

    im 12 weeks along. We didnt plan for it but didnt not try either. Its all in Gods hands now….this was the plan

  5. Marilyn says:

    Never heard of it before.

  6. Kristie says:

    All of my kids were surprises, so no chance of scheduling that appointment!

  7. Bree says:

    never heard about it. before…

  8. Jblair12 says:

    I ‘ve never heard about this appointment until I came on this site. Never knew anyone that planned a pregnancy with such detail. However, this is really good information and I plan on doing one myself before I have my next child. 🙂

  9. I have never hear about this appointment I did not have one.

  10. Marilyn says:

    I had no idea.

  11. JoyRied says:

    I never even heard about it before.

  12. Lulu says:

    I didn’t even know a preconception check-up was needed.

  13. Janice says:

    This article talked of the reasons the pre-pregnancy check ups are helpful. They 1 Asses, 2 avoid, 3 prepare, 4 find vitamins, 5 get in shape. To be in the best situation for having a baby..

  14. sheenaholman says:

    I think that a lot of people dont go to a preconception checkup because they just dont know they are supposed to. I didnt know and didnt go.

  15. Janice says:

    I believe we should eat right, exercise and be happy.

  16. Dina says:

    I didn’t go to perception apt. I didn’t know we need to I wish there was more info out there

  17. Marie says:

    good to know because i didn’t do a preconception checkup..very helpful tips..thank you

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