Preconception Services

Akron Children’s Genetic Center provides preconception services for people interested in learning about their chance of having a baby with a birth defect or genetic condition before becoming pregnant. Genetic counselors can assess risks and discuss ways to improve the likelihood of having a healthy baby, such as taking a multivitamin containing folic acid before pregnancy. Read More...

Ward-Melver Catherine
Catherine Ward-Melver, MD
Clinical Geneticist

Motter Connie
Connie Motter, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Turner Tiffany
Tiffany Turner, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Viront Joleen
Joleen Viront, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor

Woods Susan
Susan Woods, MS, LGC
Licensed Genetic Counselor


Meet Our Patients



Preconception Services - Overview

A preconception visit to a healthcare provider is considered the most important prenatal care visit. That’s because many of a baby’s critical organs are developing before most women know they are pregnant.

When you wait to get care after you’re pregnant, you miss an important window of time when you can alter risks that may affect your health and the health of your baby.

Preconception care is for women who are not aware of risks but want to determine whether any risks are present. It is also for women who are aware of specific risks, but want to determine how to best minimize these risks.

Before Getting Pregnant

Many health problems take years to develop, so it’s important you take a lifelong approach to establishing good behaviors that promote health.

Pregnancies have the best chances for a good outcome when they are planned and intended, but over half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Couples are encouraged to work together to establish a reproductive health plan, such as preparing themselves physically, emotionally and financially, and setting goals for the ideal time and circumstances for having a baby.

Women with a previous poor pregnancy outcome should get intensified care between pregnancies. Women are also advised to wait at least 2 years between pregnancies, which is optimal for both the mother’s and infant’s health.

Having a Healthy Baby

To increase the chances of having a healthy baby, every woman should take these steps:

  • Take a multivitamin with folic acid daily (can be pill or chewable form).
  • Avoid changing a cat’s litter box or rodent’s cage.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet with a variety of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Meat, eggs and fish should be fully cooked.
  • Have regular medical and dental check-ups.
  • Refrain from smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using drugs.
  • Avoid toxic substances at home and work.
  • Get a doctor’s OK regarding the safety of over-the-counter medications, prescription medications and herbal supplements.
  • Protect against and get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Limit consumption of canned tuna and fish caught in local waters.
  • Make sure immunizations are up-to-date; especially rubella, hepatitis B and varicella (chicken pox).
  • Wash hands frequently to avoid infection and avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables and avoid soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk.
  • Create a medical family tree to look for birth defects or any other conditions that appear to be “running in the family.”

Who May Benefit from a Preconception Visit

You and your partner may benefit from a preconception visit with a genetic counselor if you have concerns related to:

  • Your ages
  • Prenatal screening and diagnostic testing options
  • A known, suspected or family history of a genetic condition, birth defect, mental retardation or developmental delay
  • A history of unexplained pregnancy loss or infertility
  • Chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or epilepsy
  • Use of certain medications
  • Exposure to potentially harmful substances
  • No prior vaccination or exposure to chicken pox or rubella
  • Ethnic background with an increased risk for a specific condition


What To Expect

During your visit to Akron Children's Genetic Center, a genetic counselor will:

  • Review your family, health, immunization and reproductive histories.
  • Evaluate and assess possible risks that may affect your pregnancy.
  • Discuss the prenatal screening and diagnostic tests that would be offered during pregnancy
  • Compile this information to produce an individualized care plan.

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Preconception Services
our locations

Akron Children's Hospital
Genetic Center
300 Locust St., Suite 500
Akron , OH 44302
Phone: 330-543-8792
Fax: 330-543-3677
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