The importance of preconception counseling is huge in both maternal and fetal health during pregnancy and after delivery. Counseling before conception signifies the importance of perinatal care and maternal health before conceiving a child.
Preconception counseling increases the awareness of future parents on how to develop and maintain a healthy environment around the oocyte and also provides the knowledge essentiality of the embryo for child health. In other words, we can say that preconception counseling helps to prepare for pregnancy and protects the oocyte/ fetus health by providing training and preparing the couples who wish to build their family.
Preconception counseling is equally important for infertile couples, as the treatment procedure may be lengthy, and failure is not uncommon. Preconception counseling helps them to estimates the factors which can affect the health and outcome of pregnancy.
Infertile couples may ignore the importance of critical preconception care during their vigorous planning to overcome infertility. But they must know that preconception care is the key to a successful pregnancy. Infertile couples who seek preconception training and counseling showcase their high motivation to achieve a healthy pregnancy. This approach offers a good opportunity to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
The primary aim of preconception care is to improve lifestyle, diet, sexual health, substance abuse, and psychosocial factors, which have a direct impact on the fertility treatment outcome and pregnancy health. Different research studies have reported that preconception counseling helps to detect and remove fertility risk factors by improving lifestyle and enhancing the follicular microenvironment and sperm function.
Preconception counseling and training program should be designed in such a manner that it can meet the need for medical, psychological, social, and health-related aspects of infertility.
Couples who have visited fertility clinics are highly motivated to achieve pregnancy; but rarely interested to avail preconception education/counseling, which may improve their chances of success. Therefore, fertility treatment experts have suggested that preconception counseling and training program should be integrated into routine programs for infertility treatment.
According to the different research findings following are the various aspects of preconception education/counseling offered to infertile couples:
- Identification of significant flaws related to lifestyle, diet, sexual health, substance abuse, and psychosocial aspects, which may provide an impact on infertility and recommendations of correct guidance to overcome the uncomplicated infertile issue.
- Preconception screening for identification and recommendation of factors such as obesity, poor diet, and substance abuse influence fertility, the outcome of infertility treatment, perinatal complications, and the outcome of pregnancy.
- The negative impact of smoking on fertility.
- Some myths like cessation of physical activity during pregnancy can be explained properly and provide proper guidance.
- Inclusion of sexual counseling can identify the sexual disorders, ignorance of this may increase the prevalence of infertility among couples. Better sexual health through counseling can mitigate the infertility issue.
- Preconception counseling also includes psychosocial aspects and helps to reduce the anxiety levels among patients who want to pursue fertility treatment. Psychosocial counseling during preconception training not only provides vital emotional support but also reduces the drop-out rate from fertility treatment. Even it has found that psychological stress also interferes with normal conceiving. Therefore, preconception counseling including psychological support should be integrated into reproductive treatment.
- Preconception counseling may successfully deal with the hidden causes of infertility and also provide the information to the infertile couple about the course and implications of treatment.
Researchers have considered all the above mentions aspects of preconception counseling and expect the implementation of such counseling as an integrated part of fertility treatment aspects may improve the overall treatment outcome.
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