Pre-conception counselling service

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Pre-conception counselling service

Preconception Care Clinic LogoWe have introduced a specialist preconception counselling clinic for high risk women and families.

Pre-conception care is important because:

  • The health of women at the time of conception and in the early stages of pregnancy has an impact on the rest of their life. It can also affect the health of their children.
  • It allows physical and mental health conditions, as well as social needs to be addressed and managed before pregnancy. 
  • Couples can be advised of potential risks, which allows them to make an informed decision about conception and pregnancy. 

Many of the potential risk factors which may influence the outcome of a pregnancy for mother and baby are present prior to conception. It may be possible to reduce or remove these risks with preconception care.

Contact details:

  • Telephone: 01823 343671

Referral details (for GPs and healthcare professionals): 

The NHS e-Referral service is now available for all healthcare professionals.

Women can be referred to the service if they have any of the following:

Medical factors

  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Renal disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mental health disorder (on treatment/previous psychosis)
  • Haematological disorder
  • Neural tube defect
  • Coeliac disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Hypertensive disorder
  • Rheumatic disease (eg: rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Previous thromboembolism
  • BMI 35 or above related to medical condition
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Previous bariatric surgery

Lifestyle factors

  • BMI 35 or above related to lifestyle
  • Smoking

Obstetric factors – any previous pregnancy affected by:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia, eclampsia or HELLP syndrome
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Small for gestational age birthweight baby (<10th centile)

Please refer women of childbearing age you feel could benefit from this service. We can also currently accept self-referral from patients via the email address. For any further information and to make a referral please email:

For general preconception advice prior to referral please see the NICE clinical knowledge summaries – pre-conception advice and management – click here.

If you planning to have a baby in the next 12 months, it is advised to start taking folic acid at least 3 months before conception and up to the 12th week of pregnancy

The standard dose is 400micrograms once a day for most women however if you have any of the conditons listed in the table above you will need the higher dose of folic acid 5mg which can only be prescribed by a GP


Please advise the following group of women to take high dose 5mg folic acid daily during the preconception period until the 12th week of pregnancy.

Woman or partner with NTD

Previous pregnancy affected by NTD

Family history of NTD

Type I or Type II diabetes

BMI 30 or above

Taking anti-epileptic medication

Coeliac disease

Sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia and thalassaemia trait

(5mg folic acid should be continued throughout pregnancy for these women)


Please advise patients to continue with all regular medication and reliable contraception methods until seen and plan of care made by the preconception team

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