Menu

10 essential questions to ask during your preconception checkup

A printable discussion guide to bring to your OBGYN or midwife.  

10 essential questions to ask during your preconception checkup

Do I need to be screened for Zika infection?


The recommendations about who needs to be screened for Zika virus are constantly evolving and changing. Make sure to share you and your partner’s recent travel history with your provider, and they will guide you based on the most up to date CDC recommendations.

Finally, do not be stressed out by the preconception visit. It may seem like a lot to take in, and a lot of things that can go awry, but if you are going to a preconception visit, you are already ahead of the game in terms of being prepared for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

You’ve got this.

FEATURED VIDEO

Join Motherly

Am I at a healthy weight?

If you are overweight or underweight, you may have irregular periods and find it harder to conceive (check out “6 Tips for Getting Pregnant Fast”), and both extremes are linked to pregnancy problems for mom and baby.

Am I at risk of any exposures?

Cats, for example, can carry a parasite called toxoplasmosis, so while only weakly associated with acute infection in humans, to be on the safe side, your partner should clean the litter box during your pregnancy. Also be sure to avoid lead, mercury, radioactive substances (no x-rays or CT scans unless necessary), and certain solvents. If you aren’t sure if it’s safe, ask your doctor.

Does my family history of “x” matter?

Ask around in your family to investigate if any of your relatives were born with a birth defect, had developmental delay, or any other genetic syndromes, and ask your partner to do some digging with his family too. These are things your provider will want to know as certain genetic conditions could be passed on to your kiddos. The preconception visit is the time that you and your partner can be screened (with a simple blood/saliva test) to see if you are carriers of certain conditions, allowing you to take steps to minimize your chances of passing them on.

Choosing to have a baby and start this crazy journey we call motherhood can be one of the most terrifying and most rewarding decisions you will ever make in your life. If you are anything like me, I’m sure that you like to do everything in your power to be prepared for big life events— especially ones that include bringing a new little human into the world.

If you’re wondering why you should have a preconception visit at all, here’s why:

Most of your baby’s organs start to form in the first 3-10 weeks of pregnancy, and about 30% of women don’t have their first prenatal visit until after week 12—long after a lot of crucial development has already occurred. The goal of a preconception visit is to identify any risks to you, the baby, and your pregnancy, and then to minimize those risks and maximize your overall well-being. Take your partner with you, because at this visit, your doctor will ask you (and your partner) all sorts of past health and family history type questions.


With that in mind, I’ve put together 10 important questions you should ask your OB at your preconception visit—

Are the medications I’m taking safe for pregnancy?

Make sure you take a list of ALL the medications, supplements, and vitamins you are taking for your doctor to look over. Some medicines/supplements are known to cause birth defects and you may need to be switched to something else while you are pregnant.

Are my health conditions in good control?

Pregnancy, while generally a state of wellness, can wreak havoc on your body and pre-existing health conditions. High blood pressure, seizure disorders, diabetes, depression, clotting disorders, and hypo/hyperthyroidism are some examples of things that may require special attention or medication adjustments throughout your pregnancy. Also let your doctor know of any surgeries you’ve had or if you ever had problems with anesthesia.

What is a good exercise regimen?

If you already have a workout routine you like, your doctor will most likely tell you to continue. If you do not, they will encourage you to start. Some studies have shown that regular exercise during pregnancy may be associated with reduced risk for cesarean delivery.

Does anything in my obstetric or gynecologic history affect this pregnancy?

If you have a history of irregular periods, abnormal paps, surgery on your cervix, sexually transmitted infections, ectopic pregnancy, terminations, or any other gynecologic surgery, your doctor will need to know. Also be sure to mention any history of recurrent miscarriage, preterm birth, preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes.

Do you recommend a prenatal vitamin?

Most of the time any prenatal vitamin with 400mcg of folic acid will do. However, if you are on certain medications or have a history of a child with a neural tube defect, you may need more folic acid.

Are my vaccinations up to date?

This is important to ask at your preconception visit because some vaccines, like the MMR vaccine (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) and Varicella (Chicken pox), are not safe to receive during pregnancy. However, these infections can cause severe problems with your baby if you were to get them while pregnant, so being immune is best for your health and that of your baby.

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

    Thank you for understanding. ❤️

    In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

    Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

    Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

    FEATURED VIDEO

    I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life

    100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

    From Adelia to Ziggy.

    Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

    Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

    Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


    Keep reading Show less
    Learn + Play