Preconception Health

Take control of your preconception health today!

A preconception health appointment is a visit with a practitioner that ensures you are healthy and ready to sustain a pregnancy. This appointment gives your provider the opportunity to examine your current health and health history while also giving you the opportunity to ask any important questions regarding family planning and obtain answers from a medically accurate source.  

What is Preconception Health? 

Preconception health refers to the overall state of your health prior to sustaining a pregnancy. Improving your health before a pregnancy can not only greatly increase your chance of conception, but also having a healthy baby. Preconception health is influenced by a multitude of factors such as health history, lifestyle choices, medical conditions, medications & supplements, genetic factors, family history, partner status and more.  

Preconception health is not just for women – it applies to male partners as well.

We often associate the idea of preconception health solely with women as they carry the pregnancy. However, preconception health is extremely important for men as well. The presence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), lifestyle choices, medical conditions and more may also impact male fertility and a partner’s chances of conception. As they men’s health being an important piece of the equation, men are also encouraged to take stock of their preconception health as well. 

What can I plan to discuss during my Preconception Health appointment?

Expand the sections below to learn more about what may be covered during your appointment.

Your Pregnancy Plan

Do you desire to have children? Is there a time frame within which you’d like to conceive and how do forms of contraception and your cycle play into conception timing? Have you become pregnant before and were there any complications?  Have you had difficulty conceiving in the past

Topics like this all have a likelihood of being explored when discussing your plan for your pregnancy with your provider. Your provider may also have insights into how to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant by timing your window for fertility, so take advantage of this opportunity to ask them. 

Health History & Medical Conditions

You will likely also be asked to detail your health history to your provider, including medical conditions and the results of your last annual exam. The presence of medical conditions including but not limited to sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and more may also play a role in the success of pregnancy outcomes.1 Certain STD’s can adversely impact the likelihood of becoming pregnant, so your provider may recommend  screening for both you and your partner.

Click here to book an STD screening appointment at an Obria clinic near you.

Additionally, your vaccination record may be reviewed as being vaccinated prior to a pregnancy can protect the health of the mother as well as offer health benefits to the baby.2 Obtaining certain vaccinations during a pregnancy such as the Varicella vaccine & MMR (measles, mumps & rubella) are strongly discouraged, so your provider may recommend you take certain vaccinations prior to becoming pregnant instead.3  

Your Medications

While some of the medications you are currently taking may be fine to continue, there are others that your doctor may advise you to discontinue in order to achieve successful pregnancy outcomes. Certain medications for psychiatric or cholesterol conditions, as well as Retin-A (an acne medication) and even over the counter ibuprofen, cannot be taken during a pregnancy. As a result, it is very important for you to detail your medications to your provider and get their approval on what can be taken at this time.3 Do not start or stop medication without talking to your doctor first.  

Taking Supplements

Certain supplements are encouraged by your practitioner to produce a successful pregnancy. The CDC recommends taking 400mg of Folic Acid daily both one month prior to becoming pregnant as well as throughout pregnancy to prevent conditions like Ancephaly & Spina Bifida, which are neurological birth defects to the baby’s spine and brain.4 Taking prenatal vitamins will also likely be encouraged by your provider, which can provide this dose of Folic Acid in addition to other beneficial vitamins. 

Genetic Factors & Family History

Examining your family history can help you to recognize factors that may impact your likelihood of becoming pregnant and identify inherited conditions that could affect your child. The CDC advises that even a cousin’s Sickle Cell diagnosis or a sibling’s heart defect may have the genetic potential to affect your baby, so sharing this information with your medical provider is paramount.

Therefore, it is important for you and your partner to take stock of your family history, noting any genetic conditions. Your provider may recommend genetic counseling as needed. While we most often associate ideas of genetic counseling with birth defects or intellectual disabilities, issues with infertility, multiple miscarriages or genetic defects in previous pregnancies are also reasons your provider may refer you for genetic counseling or screening.6 

Avoiding Toxic Substances

Certain substances such as fertilizer, bug spray, heavy metals and feces can harm reproductive systems, and exposure at any life stage can lead to diseases.6 For this reason, individuals are encouraged to take the necessary precautions to identify toxic environments and avoid them as much as possible even prior to becoming pregnant. 

Lifestyle Choices & Weight

Avoid Alcohol, Smoking & Caffeine 

While it may be common knowledge that alcohol and cigarettes (including secondhand smoke) can harm a baby during pregnancy and are strongly discouraged, avoiding these substances when trying to conceive is also recommended. While research is divided on whether drinking 1-2 alcoholic drinks daily negatively affects fertility, the act of smoking cigarettes has been proven to decrease fertility in both men and women.7 Additionally, your doctor may also encourage you to decrease your caffeine intake, if applicable.  

Regardless of the substance, abstaining from or limiting (in the case of alcohol or caffeine) the rate at which you partake may increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy. 

Maintaining a Healthy Weight 

Research shows that being both overweight or underweight during a pregnancy can result in adverse outcomes such as premature birth, diabetes and high blood pressure.8  In order to ensure you are healthy, your doctor may examine your BMI (Body Mass Index) which is an estimate of your body fat percentage based on the ratio of your height to weight, which can indicate whether you need to lose or gain weight. Additionally, your practitioner may explore the importance of a healthy diet with you coupled with physical activity and exercise. 

Take control of your preconception health today.

While it is always important to maintain good health whether trying to become pregnant or not, it is strongly recommended to start prioritizing your health if you are planning on conceiving in the future.  

Encourage your partner to participate in a routine screening with you and book your preconception appointment at an Obria clinic near you today. 


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 15). Planning for pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 15). Planning for pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Conti, J. (2022, December 12). An OB-GYN’s guide to your preconception appointment. Ro.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 15). Planning for pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 15). Planning for pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, February 15). Planning for pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  7. Conti, J. (2022, December 12). An OB-GYN’s guide to your preconception appointment. Ro.
  8.  March of Dimes. (2020, September 1). Getting ready for pregnancy: Preconception health. March of Dimes.