Pre-pregnancy check-ups are highly recommended for women who wish to have healthy kids and are planning to conceive. Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s body is undergoing so many changes that it becomes vulnerable. Pre-conception checkups are not only important for their health, but also for the well-being of their future child. Not only does it help in detecting any problems in the women’s bodies, but it also reduces the chances of complications during the crucial time when they will be carrying the foetus.
A pre-pregnancy test is also important if one is already suffering from any sort of medical condition. Some medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity etc. can affect one’s pregnancy or fertility. Moreover, smoking, excessive drinking, drug abuse too can affect it adversely. Thus, one should be prepared to talk about their medical history, as well as their spouse’s. It helps the medical care provider in understanding whether your body is ready for the pregnancy and also helps in managing health conditions. Furthermore, the provider can also advise in case of any changes required in lifestyle, so that the baby is born healthy.
It is advisable to get a pre-pregnancy checkup even if one has had a baby earlier, as the women’s health may have changed since the last pregnancy. Also, women who have faced problems in past pregnancy such as premature birth, genital defects in the baby, miscarriage and/or stillbirth, must let the medical provider know about it as the same problem can be avoided in the next pregnancy.
So, make sure to book an appointment with the doctor before going ahead with conception.
At a pre-pregnancy checkup, the doctor or provider -
Checks your overall health and gives you an overall physical checkup, like checking your weight, blood pressure, etc.
Asks about your and your partner’s family health history - If you have any genetic condition running in your family, will give you advice to see a genetic counselor.
Clears all your queries regarding pregnancy, best time to try conceiving and what to expect during pregnancy.
Gives guidance on when to stop using birth control pills before trying to conceive.
Gives you a pelvic exam to make sure your pelvic organs i.e., vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries are healthy. Even if you are diagnosed with any problem, it can be treated before conceiving preventing problems during pregnancy.
Gives you a list of blood tests to be conducted so you’re your body is ready and healthy and the baby is born healthy and free of diseases.
If you have had any problems in your past pregnancy, the health provider will try to find the cause and make sure this pregnancy will be safe and the baby will be born healthy.
Treat any health condition before pregnancy or if the condition is chronic, make sure you get proper treatment for it so that you do not have any complications in your pregnancy.
Keep a check on all the medications you are taking during pregnancy as some medicines can be harmful for the fetus and can cause serious damage.
Keep a check on your vaccinations and keep it up to date as infections like chicken pox or measles can harm you and your baby. So it’s better to be immune to them.
TSH (thyroid check)
Postcoital test (PCT)
Ovulation Check with the basal body temperature curve (BBT)
Cycle Day 3 tests if you have problems in conceiving
Hepatitis A and B
Vaginal tests for Gonorrhea (GC) and Gonorrhea (GC)
Parvovirus B-19 (Fifth Disease) titers
Type and Red-blood cell count (both partners’ blood tests)
CBC and hemoglobin electrophoresis
Genetic screening (based on ethnicity): Sickly Cell Screen, Thalassemia Screen, Jewish Genetic Diseases
WHL TIP: Contact your gynaecologist or other local support groups for more details on these tests, and how to prepare yourself for conception