Feature Article

Preconception counselling: serendipitous and targeted approaches

Louise Kornman



Taking a serendipitous approach to discuss future pregnancy with women of childbearing age who present to your practice will optimise their chances of having a healthy baby. A targeted approach is appropriate for women who present specifically for preconception counselling or those with health issues that may affect a pregnancy.

Key Points

  • Advice regarding timing and preparation for pregnancy is advisable for all women.
  • Most advice given to women will not be in the context of a formal ‘preconception’ consultation, so any opportunity should be used (serendipitous approach).
  • Women with pre-existing morbidities should be offered advice in general terms well before they may be considering pregnancy, and more specifically when pregnancy is a possibility (targeted approach).
  • Most interventions and modifications need to be in place at the time of conception to benefit the formation of a fetus.