One of the most popular services offered by Dr. Susanne Ramos and her team in Santa Barbara, California, is preconception counselling. Considering whether to have children is a weighty decision, and preparing yourself both mentally and physically is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your child. If you’d like to schedule a preconception counseling consult, call the office or book an appointment online.
Rather than simply another term for family planning, preconception counseling covers a broad and comprehensive range of topics, of which family planning is only one aspect. Since the typical couple planning a first child is young, chances are they’re in reasonably good health and their planning may fall more toward the economic and lifestyle aspects for their new family.
However, the physical impact of pregnancy upon the mother is substantial, and maintaining good health provides for the baby as well. Dr. Ramos and her team provide physical exams, counseling, and education to anticipate the most common health issues connected with pregnancy to help you avoid these whenever possible.
Preconception counselling isn’t something you’ll receive in a single appointment. Instead, it’s more of a process that’s integrated into all the medical care you’ll receive from Dr. Ramos, leading up to your pregnancy.
If you’re a woman of reproductive age, it likely starts when Dr. Ramos asks you about your intention to become pregnant. You may not want to at the time, and that’s when the conversation turns to birth control and family planning.
When you’re open to or actively planning to become pregnant, then the focus of care shifts into proactive modes. The first order of treatment might address your immunizations, bringing these up-to-date, or screening for infectious diseases, if you belong to a high-risk group. If your body mass is over or under optimal, Dr. Ramos may advise a plan to achieve a healthy weight prior to pregnancy. She’ll also ask what medications you take, to make sure they are safe for pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is a complication of pregnancy that may be avoided through blood sugar control. Keeping this balanced reduces risk of congenital abnormalities, so you’ll likely receive testing and counseling. Prenatal screening is another important part of the preconception counseling regimen.
Prenatal screening refers to blood tests that detect an increased risk of passing on specific birth defects to a child. There are several tests available, including the California Prenatal Screening Program, as well as tests from Sequenom Laboratories and Natera®. Dr. Ramos recommends the prenatal screens that are appropriate for you based on your health and family history.