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PRECONCEPTION COUNSELLING WILL HELP IN A SMOOTH-PREGNANCY JOURNEY

Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful, delicate, as well as tiring phases of a woman’s life. A lot of care in terms of nutrition, diet, exercise, and mental health is needed to be taken during pregnancy. With the support of the partner, family members, friends, relatives, and doctors, pregnancy can be made a smooth experience.

A lot of couples face problems while trying to have a baby. This is why proper planning, i.e., preconception counselling is suggested by doctors. Over here, pointers like couple’s family history, lifestyle, risk factors, and medical conditions are discussed. This counselling will make sure that the woman has a healthy, safe, and happy pregnancy, well in advance, even before testing positive for pregnancy.

When does preconception counselling begin?

In recent times, more and more couples are opting for preconception counselling, which is a positive change in society. It is around 3 months before a couple plans for pregnancy, the preconception counselling begins. During the counselling, the preparation for the woman is segmented into three parts, i.e., the physical, mental, and medical parameters.

Before pregnancy, mental preparation helps in creating a balance between the career, finance, and age factor. Ideally, a good range of having a baby lies in between 22-29 years, where the reproduction capacity of a female is at its peak. This doesn’t mean that after 30 one cannot get pregnant, but it means that after 30, the fertility starts declining. The chances of conceiving become comparatively lesser after 30, and it may require medical assistance.

Along with this, psychological factors play a crucial role in making pregnancy a smooth journey. These factors include building trust and a support system and improving bonding with the partner during pregnancy.

Counselling regarding environmental, nutritional, and occupational hazards, physical examination, and immunization status is also done. Both the partners should be tested/screened for HIV/Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before planning pregnancy.

For males, preconception counselling includes physical and mental parameters like preparing yourself for the changes and the upcoming baby. Supporting and taking care of the wife.

Taking care of the wife’s nutrition, diet, and exercise, and also doing the household chores is expected from the males. Also, making changes in habits like quitting smoking, alcohol, is expected from males.

The counselling also urges males for testing their sperm quality and sperm count. Exercising and diet are equally crucial for males as it is for females.

Need of preconception counselling

With preconception counselling, a woman’s overall health gets optimized before pregnancy. Any pre-existing condition that may affect conception in pregnancy is detected, and suitable treatment is suggested.

Taking folic acid supplements before conception is a simple measure that highly contributes to reducing the chances of complications like childbirth defects.

Strict metabolic control before and during the pregnancy can be achieved by managing diabetes mellitus, seizures, asthma, hypertension, and thyroid disorders. This lowers the fetal effects.

The couples are counseled regarding the benefits of reducing weight before pregnancy if obese, exercising, and increasing weight if underweight.

Parameters that couples should follow

Monitoring vitamin-D levels.

Taking iron supplements to manage hemoglobin.

Women should follow a diet rich in fiber, and low in fats.

Maintaining a healthy weight.

Cutting down alcohol, smoking, and tobacco.

Getting enough sleep and avoiding excess stress.

Exercising daily.

Following intimate hygiene.

Getting screened/tested for HIV/STDs.

Building a good bond between each other, and family members.

Source: The Indian Express

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