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Ask the Expert: Preconception counseling

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Lloyd A. Bakken, M.D.
Lloyd A. Bakken​, M.D.​​
Sees patients at Marshfield Clinic Centers in Minocqua and Park Falls

Question: Why should I see my doctor before becoming pregnant?​​​

A visit with your primary care doctor may be the most important step you can take to assure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.

The purpose is to identify and modify any biomedical, behavioral and social risks to the woman’s health or pregnancy, to reduce complications and improve outcomes.

You can expect preconception counseling to include a complete personal and family medical history, a thorough physical exam and laboratory testing.

It’s very important for you to be as upfront with your physician as possible.

This can be difficult when addressing psychosocial issues such as stress, financial problems or mental health conditions, substance use, or even your weight.

But the last thing any of us wants is to be surprised by a revelation during your second trimester.

Preconception counseling also covers exercise do’s and don’ts, nutrition, supplements, and health conditions to watch for that can be a threat to your pregnancy.

Think of this counseling as the classroom portion of your pregnancy.

You will learn about subjects ranging from weight gain to activity, employment, nausea and vomiting, hemorrhoids, constipation, urinary frequency, sex during pregnancy, groin pains, backache and breastfeeding.

As a result, you will be well prepared for the real test.

​Marshfield Clinic provides gynecological and obstetrical care​ in a number of our centers. Your primary care doctor can refer you to the appropriate specialty and location or you can contact a location nearby. ​