Preconception counseling can help couples achieve the best possible outcome for their pregnancy. By starting before the baby is conceived, we can work together to better define what the risks might be to the mother and to the baby. We can begin testing early in the process to better monitor the pregnancy and the health of both mother and baby.
Preconception counseling can help women who may have heart conditions or other medical conditions that could adversely affect them during pregnancy. It can also help women with a poor pregnancy history or past miscarriages. Genetic counseling can also be a part of preconception counseling for couples with a family history of birth defects, genetic conditions or other risk factors.
By planning ahead and exploring the risks and possibilities, preconception counseling can go a long way toward ensuring a healthy pregnancy for mother and baby.
The counselor will explain which tests are available and what a test can and cannot show. The counselor may arrange for a blood test which can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or determine the chance of passing on a genetic disorder in the future. If you are pregnant, tests may be arranged to determine the health of your baby. This may involve drawing a small sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid surrounding a fetus) or a small sample of tissue from the placenta.
A genetic counselor will discuss the test results with you and explain what they mean. When appropriate, the counselor will refer you to physicians at Froedtert & The Medical College for further consultation and to community resources that focus on a particular medical condition.