What is a Preconception Visit?

My Preconception Visit

My husband and I are finally thinking about trying for a baby! After doing some research online, I decided to schedule a preconception visit, which is just an appointment you make with your doctor to discuss trying to conceive.

It seems to be debatable as to whether or not this is a necessary visit, but as I have not been to a doctor in years and I had some questions, I decided it was best to make an appointment. I like to play it safe and we won't be trying till the fall or winter, so that gives me plenty of time to get into shape if I find out I need to lose more weight, change my diet, etc.

Since I have not been to the doctor in years, I basically received a physical, which consisted of a pap test and having some blood drawn, which I actually dread more than the pap.

I was able to ask my questions, like who do I see when I get pregnant, when to start taking prenatal vitamins, etc. She was very helpful and friendly, and basically told me to start trying! She did mention that I would have to get a flu shot in the fall and the only vaccine I might need is tetanus if it is not up to date. They will have to wait till they can get the records from the previous clinic I went to.

That was it! It was just a basic exam and nothing to it. She said I can schedule an appointment with her when I think I am pregnant and she can confirm it for me. At that time she will also give me recommendations to an OBGYN or midwife and we can see what places will accept our insurance.

Is a preconception visit necessary?

I don't think one should go out their way to schedule one (my doctor basically made me realize I was overthinking and worrying too much, having a baby is completely natural and the only people who really have to worry are those with known health problems), but if you have any questions or concerns, ask at your regular check-up, unless you are like me and have not been to the doctor since you were in high school, then I would go ahead and schedule a regular check-up and mention that you are planning on trying for a baby, that way they will give you a longer appointment so you have time to ask questions.

What do I ask at a preconception visit?

Here are some questions you might want to ask your doctor before trying to have a baby. I put some answers I got from my doctor in parentheses:

  • Am I healthy? Do I need to lose weight?
  • What exercise is safe? 
    • (Running is okay!)
  • If on birth control, ask how long it might take before your cycle is normal.
  • If you're not tracking your period/cycle or have an irregular period, ask for tips on how to know when you are ovulating and start keeping track.
    • (Since I have a history of irregular cycles, she recommended contacting her if I wasn't pregnant after 6 months, which I did later and she referred me to OBGYN. I was diagnosed with PCOS, but luckily got pregnant 3 months later, naturally)
  • What OBGYN/Birth Center do you recommend?
  • What medications are okay/not okay? 
    • (Can't take ibuprofen, have to take acetaminophen for pain)
  • When to start taking prenatal vitamins?
    • (She said I could start now, so basically whenever you plan on trying start taking them!)
  • Do you recommend a prenatal vitamin? 
    • (Mine said any of them is fine so it may seem like a stupid question, but if you have allergies or other issues, might be good to ask anyway)
  • What about Folic Acid?
    • (Folic acid is already in prenatal vitamins and any many foods we eat, such as cereal, so it is not necessary to take a supplement, your doctor might say differently depending on your diet.) 
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