If you have made the exciting decision to have a baby, you may also have questions or concerns. For example, you may have an irregular menstrual cycle and wonder if that is going to make it difficult to conceive. You may have a genetic condition that runs in your family, and want to know how you can make sure your child does not inherit it. You may have a either current medical problem, or a history of having a medical problem, that you worry is either going to affect your ability to have a child, or affect the child itself.
Pre-pregnancy counselling has serves several purposes:
– to alleviate unfounded concerns
– to optimise your health prior to pregnancy
– to assess any medications you take regarding their safety in pregnancy (Mothersafe is a fantastic service set up by a paediatrician/clinical geneticist, Dr Debra Kennedy, based at the Royal Hospital for Women. If you have concerns that a medication that you are using may cause problems in pregnancy, you can directly contact MotherSafe on (02) 9382-6070. See https://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/royal-hospital-for-women/services-clinics/directory/mothersafe for further information.
– to evaluate your fertility and either reassure you that there are no obvious factors that would impair you ability to conceive, or to advise you of factors that are likely to impair you ability to conceive and provide advice on how to manage/overcome these factors
– to offer genetic testing for any known conditions that run in your family, or to advise you of extended carrier screening tests that you can undertake so that you identify whether both you and your partner carry the same recessive genetic condition that will place your baby at risk of inheriting the same condition (see section on extended carrier screening below)