The preconception counselling consultation is one of the best opportunities to initiate effective preventative medicine.
- Preconception counselling forms the basis of a preconception care program and is one of the most potent opportunities to practise preventative medicine.
- Topics that may be covered in preconception counselling are conception, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, cervical screening, dietary advice (preconception folate, iron and vitamin C supplementation), weight optimisation, smoking cessation, and alcohol use and risk behaviour modifications.
- Lifestyle modifications should involve both the woman and her partner; if they do not, success is likely to be limited or at least only short term.
- Some patients will ask directly about preconception care but usually the GP will have to broach the subject during consultations for other reasons.
- Patients with certain medical diseases or personal or family histories implying specific disease risks and/or inheritable genetic disorders should be prepared for pregnancy well before it occurs, with a plan of action formulated using a multidisciplinary approach.