As a Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Melbourne, I give the “pre-pregnancy counselling” lecture to medical students at the start of their rotation into the specialty. Pre-pregnancy counselling involves meeting with future parents to discuss health, conception and issues to note during pregnancy, which can be a vital starting point during the process.
It always strikes me that this initial consultation is frequently underrated and, in reality, many women won’t see the importance of visiting a specialist before trying to conceive or are not sure where to go or who to approach.
Why is a consultation important?
A consultation is an essential part of the process. No two people are the same, and each family’s journey is different. Counselling provides a proactive approach by allowing your doctor to test or establish any medical conditions that may impact the chances of falling pregnant, as well as address any concerns you may have.
While there can be medical conditions requiring attention, women can become focused on some concerns which in fact are completely normal. For example:
- How long should it take to fall pregnant?
- If it isn’t happening, what tests should be done?
- How invasive are these tests?
Each of these questions are completely understandable, especially for first time mothers, and I will do my best to provide you with all the information you need to feel more comfortable and safe during your pregnancy. I always prefer to see people before they start attempting to conceive and will ensure any out-of-pocket costs for consultations or procedures are deducted from future pregnancy visits and care with me.
What can I expect from counselling?
Some of the topics covered during these consults include:
- Exploring any current or previous medical problems and making sure they are optimised before pregnancy
- A gynaecological history to ensure there is nothing that needs addressing to make pregnancy safe or to optimise the chance of falling pregnant naturally
- Discussing practicing a healthy lifestyle and some of the common myths of pregnancy
- Possible fertility investigations
Some couples may have started trying to conceive, and pregnancy is taking longer than expected. In this case, we can provide guidance and information on the next steps. Most couples become quite fearful of the term “infertility” and I can support you in understanding and overcoming this potential misinformed fear.
Equally, many women do not necessarily want to go to an IVF specialist for the first round of discussions and investigations. I welcome consultations for further discussion and testing if necessary.
Please visit my website for some of the tests that can be organised or make an appointment to discuss further.
I look forward to hearing from you and being a part of this exciting journey.