Why Preconception Counselling Is Important For Pregnancy Planning

Preconception counselling has emerged as an essential component of comprehensive healthcare for couples planning to start a family. This proactive approach involves seeking medical advice to optimise the health of both parents.

Dr Ankita Kaushal
Sep 05, 2023 12:13 IST
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Preconception counselling has emerged as an essential component of comprehensive healthcare for couples planning to start a family. This proactive approach involves seeking medical advice and guidance before conception to optimise the health of both parents and promote a successful pregnancy. 

While preconception counselling addresses a broad range of health factors, fertility counselling with fertility checks offers a more focused and comprehensive evaluation of reproductive health. These two aspects together create a well-rounded approach to family planning, ensuring the best possible outcome for both parents and the unborn child.

Importance Of Preconception Counselling

Preconception counselling involves consultations with healthcare professionals, typically obstetricians or reproductive specialists, to discuss various aspects that can impact pregnancy and its outcomes. This counselling serves several important purposes:


1. Identifying Health Risks: Preconception counselling allows healthcare providers to identify and manage potential health risks that could affect pregnancy. This includes addressing chronic medical conditions, medications that may need to be adjusted, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and weight management.

2. Optimising Medications: If a woman is taking medications for chronic conditions, preconception counselling helps assess their safety during pregnancy. Some medications may need to be adjusted or changed to ensure the health of both the mother and the developing fetus.

3. Nutritional Guidance: Proper nutrition is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Preconception counselling offers dietary recommendations and guidance on taking prenatal vitamins with essential nutrients like folic acid to reduce the risk of birth defects.


4. Genetic Screening: Couples may be offered genetic screening to identify potential risks of passing on genetic disorders to their offspring. This information allows for informed family planning decisions and prenatal care if necessary.

5. Immunization Status: Ensuring that both parents are up-to-date on vaccinations, such as rubella and varicella, can prevent certain infections that could pose risks during pregnancy.

Fertility Counseling with Fertility Checks


While preconception counselling provides a comprehensive overview of health factors, fertility counselling with fertility checks focuses specifically on assessing reproductive health and the ability to conceive. This form of counselling becomes especially important when couples face difficulties in achieving pregnancy. Here's why fertility counselling is crucial:

1. Identifying Fertility Issues: Fertility counselling involves a detailed evaluation of both partners' reproductive health. It can help identify potential factors that may be affecting fertility, such as ovulation problems, Fallopian tube patency and health, and Uterine factors such as Fibroids or polyps, hormonal imbalances, or sperm abnormalities.

2. Timely Interventions: Early identification of fertility issues allows for timely interventions and treatment. Couples can explore various fertility treatments, such as ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injections (ICSI) to enhance their chances of conceiving.


3. Emotional Support: Fertility struggles can take an emotional toll on couples. Fertility counselling provides emotional support and helps couples navigate the challenges associated with fertility treatments, including managing stress and coping with disappointment.

4. Individualized Plans: Fertility counselling tailors treatment plans to each couple's specific needs. This personalized approach increases the chances of successful conception and pregnancy.

5. Optimizing Timing: Fertility counselling helps couples understand their menstrual cycles, ovulation timing, and the optimal times for attempting conception. This knowledge maximizes the likelihood of a successful Outcome.


Integrated Approach for Comprehensive Family Planning

The integration of preconception counselling and fertility counselling creates a comprehensive and well-rounded approach to family planning. For couples without fertility concerns, preconception counselling provides a foundation of health and well-being to support a healthy pregnancy. For couples facing fertility challenges, fertility counselling offers specialized guidance and interventions to overcome obstacles and achieve the dream of parenthood.

In conclusion, preconception counselling is vital for addressing general health factors that could impact pregnancy, while fertility counselling with fertility checks is essential for couples facing fertility issues. This combined approach ensures that couples are equipped with the knowledge, tools, and support needed to make informed decisions, optimize their reproductive health, and increase their chances of successful conception and healthy pregnancy. Seeking both forms of counselling can contribute to a smoother journey toward parenthood, ultimately benefiting the well-being of both parents and their future children.


Views expressed by the author are their own.

Authored by Dr Ankita Kaushal, Consultant - Fertility and IVF, Motherhood Hospitals, Kharghar

Suggested reading: Maternity Care Mistreatment: US To India, Story Remains The Same

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