incredible-marketing Arrow

Preconception and Contraception

There are so many things to consider before becoming pregnant. Most people think about financial stability, or wonder if they’re ready to be a parent and what the future may hold. These are important factors, but what some people don’t think about is assessing the health of the woman before she gets pregnant. At Southern OBGYN, we offer preconception counseling to our patients. Preconception counseling provides so many helpful advantages to couples who want to become pregnant, and is an increasingly popular and vital part of your pregnancy experience.

What is Preconception Counseling?

The goal of preconception counseling is to address any existing medical issues you have that may affect your pregnancy, as well as screen for potential risks. In fact, all women can benefit from preconception counseling and care – a report from the World Health Organization states that the “promotive, preventive and curative health interventions” provided by such care have been proven effective at improving both maternal and child health.

Ensuring that you are in good health, both physically and emotionally can help make your pregnancy and the birth of your child a bit less stressful – not every variable can be planned for, but knowing what to watch for or avoid can go a long way in giving you peace of mind throughout every stage of pregnancy.

What to Expect at Your Preconception Counseling Visit

When you come in for your initial preconception counseling visit, it will be helpful to come prepared with relevant medical records from other practitioners. You and your OB/GYN will discuss your entire history, including:

  • Reproductive – Have you had any previous pregnancies, has your menstruation cycle always been normal, and what method of contraception do you currently use?
  • OB/GYN – Have you had regular exams, any abnormal Pap tests, vaginal infections or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? Do you have any conditions (such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome) that may impact your ability to become pregnant? Infections or scarring from previous infections can affect your ability to conceive, so you may need to undergo blood tests or cervical cultures to ensure that you are free from infection.
  • Medical/surgical – Have you undergone previous surgeries, blood transfusions or hospitalizations? Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions or allergies? Are you currently taking any medications (including prescriptions, over-the-counter and supplements) and what are the dosages?
  • Family health – Do your parents or grandparents have a history of hypertension or diabetes? Do twins run in your or your partner’s family? Are you aware of any genetic abnormalities or congenital conditions in either family?
  • Lifestyle – what is your stress level, and how do you manage it? Do you use tobacco, drugs, alcohol or other recreational drugs? Do you exercise and have a healthy diet? These questions also apply to your partner, as his lifestyle habits may affect his fertility.
  • Weight – If you are overweight, this can affect your fertility and open the door to complications (such as gestational diabetes) during pregnancy. If you are underweight, this can cause irregular menstrual cycles (affecting fertility), and your baby may be born underweight as well.
  • Environment at home and work – Exposure to solvents, x-rays and bacteria in cat feces at home or work can pose risks to you and your baby, so it is important to consider these possible dangers.

It may seem like a lot to talk about, but all of the above-mentioned factors are essential when planning to become pregnant. Again, it cannot be emphasized enough that the better your health, the better you will feel during your pregnancy, and the better off your baby will be.

Once you’ve talked about your history, one of our experienced doctors will examine you to evaluate your physical health, including a pelvic exam and Pap smear, drawing blood for testing, and ensuring that your immunizations are up-to-date, as well as any other necessary testing indicated by your medical history. You may also discuss:

  • Charting your menstrual cycles in order to determine ovulation and the window of time when you are most likely to get pregnant.
  • Genetic counseling – if you are over the age of 35 or have a history of genetic issues, genetic counseling and testing is a way to help you detect and understand your chances of your baby being born with genetic abnormalities.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that you will not only be receiving from your doctor, but be providing for them, Southern OBGYN can help. Our team of experienced obstetricians are here to guide you through pregnancy from preconception all the way through birth and post-partum care. We understand and are sensitive to the wide range of questions and concerns you might have, and we strive to ensure that you feel comfortable and cared for during this exciting (and sometimes scary) next step in your life. Call our office today at 337-235-4460 and make an appointment for your preconception counseling consultation.

Contraception

Finding the right method of birth control can be challenging, as there are a wide variety of options. One tried-and-true method that works for one woman may not be the right choice for another woman, so it can often be a game of trial and error. At Southern OBGYN, we understand the importance of finding the birth control option that will best fit your needs and lifestyle, and our doctors will work with you to find the right contraceptive for you.

What is Contraceptive Counseling?

At Southern OBGYN, we provide gynecological services to both adolescents and adult women, and included in that is talking about sexuality and the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Though many women are uncomfortable talking about sex, our office is the place where you can ask any question you wish, no matter how embarrassing you think it may be. Our goal is to educate you about sexual health, and to make sure that if you are sexually active, you are safe and free from disease. There is no judgment in contraceptive counseling, just a professional and caring medical doctor making sure you are aware of your options and helping you to be responsible and informed when it comes to decisions about sex.

Contraceptive counseling discussions can take place at each visit, regardless of your age or level of sexual activity. For adolescent patients, it is important to learn about and understand how contraception works, what kind you may want to use, and how to get it. At your visit, your doctor may talk to you about your sexual history, if you’ve been tested for or treated for STDs, and what form of birth control you are using. Again, it is a vital conversation to have with your doctor, because not only can they help you, but everything you tell them is protected by confidentiality, even if you are a minor. Our first priority is ensuring your health and safety, and so we respect and value your desire for privacy.

For women in every stage of life, your reproductive needs often change, so it is essential to be open and honest with your gynecologist about those needs, as well as any issues, concerns and expectations related to your sexual health.

Contraceptive Options

Choosing the right birth control type basically boils down to two critical considerations: how effective is it, and how much maintenance is required. Below are the most common methods of more long-term birth control:

  • Intrauterine Device (IUD) – 99 percent effective, can last from three to 10 years
  • Birth Control Implant – 99 percent effective, can last up to three years
  • Birth Control Pill – 91 percent effective, must be taken daily
  • Patch – 91 percent effective, must be replaced weekly
  • Vaginal Ring – 91 percent effective, must be replaced monthly
  • Injection – 94 percent effective, must be done every three months

If you want to avoid birth control that relies on hormone therapy, there are several options available that must be used every time you engage in intercourse, including:

  • Condom – 85 percent effective
  • Diaphragm – 88 percent effective
  • Female Condom – 79 percent effective
  • Cervical Cap – 71-86 percent effective
  • Spermicide – 71 percent effective

*percent of effectiveness figures found at plannedparenthood.org

There are also patients who choose completely natural forms of birth control, in the form of ovulation charts (also called fertility awareness) as well as the pull-out method and others. For permanent birth control, you may choose to get your tubes tied (tubal ligation), or your partner may get a vasectomy. Every type of birth control offers both advantages and disadvantages, so that’s why the doctors at Southern OBGYN provide contraceptive counseling to our patients.

As part of our commitment to complete and comprehensive reproductive health and wellness for women, Southern OBGYN is proud to provide contraceptive counseling to each and every one of our patients. To schedule an appointment with one of our trained and experienced gynecologists, call our office today at 337-235-4460 and discover what superior women’s care looks like.

Schedule an appointment with our team to get your expert care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.