BHealthy Blog

What Is a Preconception Checkup and Why Is It Important?

why you need a preconception appointment
By Lydia Carter BSN, RNC-MNN ARN III

You know your physician will help guide you through pregnancy, but did you know an OB/GYN can also play an important role in helping you prepare to conceive? During a preconception checkup, your OB/GYN can help determine if you’re in a healthy state for pregnancy, and if you’re not, recommend any changes you should make before trying to conceive. 

Whether you’re getting ready for your first baby or your fourth, a preconception appointment can provide you with the resources and information you need to help you have the healthiest pregnancy possible. Read on for the five reasons you should schedule a preconception checkup before you start trying to have a baby. 

Evaluate your health.

To take care of your baby, you must first take care of yourself. One of the most important parts of your preconception checkup, a thorough examination can help determine if you’re healthy enough to carry a baby and identify any health issues that may need to be addressed before you get pregnant, such as depression, diabetes or high blood pressure. In addition to a health assessment, you may also undergo a fertility evaluation to determine your chances of conceiving naturally.

Talk about any medications you take.

Before you conceive, discuss all of the over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, supplements and herbal products you take with your doctor. You may need to stop taking some of your medications when you start trying to conceive, or your medication may need to be adjusted to keep both yourself and your baby healthy. Always consult with your doctor before stopping or changing your medication.

Learn how you can prepare your body for pregnancy.

From what you should eat to how much you should exercise to what prenatal vitamins you should take, your OB/GYN can evaluate your lifestyle and give practical advice about how you can make the best choices as you prepare to conceive. Your physician will also let you know if you need to lose or gain any weight for an optimal pregnancy. 

Discuss family health history.

Your OB/GYN can help identify any potential disorders your child may be susceptible to, and help you decide if conceiving naturally is the best choice for your family. You can also discuss whether it’s recommended for you and your partner to have genetic carrier screenings to determine the likelihood of your child being born with a genetic disorder. Learn more about genetic carrier screenings.

Make a plan to get off your birth control.

Stopping your birth control medicine may come with some side effects, and your OB/GYN can prepare you for those. During your preconception visit, your physician can also help you determine the timeline on which you may begin ovulating again after you stop birth control, and when you may be able to get pregnant. 

A healthy pregnancy begins before conception, and at Baptist Health, we’re committed to supporting you as you prepare to conceive. Learn more about how you can get ready for a baby financially or schedule your preconception checkup by requesting an appointment with a Baptist Health OB/GYN.