Haywood Women’s Medical Center Offers Preconception Counseling

 March 27, 2017

Haywood Women’s Medical Center Offers Preconception Counseling

Service aims to improve the health of moms and babies

Every woman should be thinking about her health, pregnant or not, because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned – meaning a greater risk for preterm births, birth defects, or other complications. Preconception care can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby.

"The child-bearing years are an exciting time in a woman's life, and there are a number of steps they can take to be healthy,” said Jody Schmidt, certified nurse midwife at Haywood Women’s Medical Center. "For instance, even before pregnancy, women of child-bearing age who are sexually active or planning to become pregnant should see their doctor about family planning, family medical history, taking folic acid, medicines, how to avoid illness, complications from previous births, risks, managing health problems such as diabetes and more.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women and men can benefit from preconception health, whether or not they plan to have a baby one day. This is because part of preconception health is about people getting and staying healthy overall, throughout their lives. In addition, no one expects an unplanned pregnancy, but it happens often. In fact, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are not planned.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some topics you should discuss with your doctor before becoming pregnant include:

  • Taking folic acid supplements
  • Detecting and treating existing health conditions
  • Reviewing medications that can affect the fetus or the mother
  • Reviewing a woman's pregnancy history
  • Stopping smoking to reduce the risk of low birth weight
  • Eliminating alcohol consumption to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Family planning counseling to avoid unplanned pregnancies
  • Counseling to promote healthy behaviors such as appropriate weight, nutrition, exercise and oral health.

"Preconception health is important for every woman capable of having a baby," said David Kirk, MD, Haywood Women’s Medical Center. "And all couples, whether or not they are planning pregnancies, should have counseling. This may also include couples who have a difficult time conceiving."

If you are sexually active or planning on becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about your preconception health now – because a healthy baby, and mom, is well worth the preparation.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call 828.452.5042.