If you have decided to embark on the journey of motherhood, it is crucial that you get a few tests done to ensure a smooth pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.
Timely screening and identification of certain ailments on time can give your doctor with sufficient window period to identify conditions which might have the potential to adversely impact yours or the developing fetus' health.
Before you stop taking the birth control measures, pay a visit to your gynecologist. Have an in-depth discussion with her on your current health conditions, your lifestyle, your family history, yours and your partners’ medical history. This will help the doctor know the tests required for you.
The foremost aspect for conceiving and healthy pregnancy is having a healthy lifestyle consisting of proper diet, and exercise. Most doctors will recommend you to quit smoking and stop consuming alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant.
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Blood Tests and Antibody Screening
Blood screening helps the doctor determine the following:
-Your blood group.
-Whether you have Rh- or Rh+ blood. The partners’ of women with blood type Rh- also need to have their blood type tested because fetuses conceived by Rh- women and Rh+ men may develop the hemolytic disease of the newborn, a critical condition which can even cause brain damage and death of the infant. However, this condition can be prevented by treating the pregnant woman and newborn baby with immune globulin that can prevent the formation of antibodies to Rh+ blood.
-Level of antibodies in the blood, basis which your doctor will decide if any vaccination is required.
-Genetic disorders. In case you turn out to be the carrier of certain traits, your partner’s genetic test also needs to be done. In case you both are the carrier of some recessive genes, the probability of the baby’s also having a particular problem increases.
Due to different hormonal changes your immunity is comparatively lower during pregnancy. So, it is vital to vaccinate yourself for yours and your baby's well-being.
If you are planning for pregnancy during the flu session, the flu shot is a compulsion to protect you through the early weeks of pregnancy when you may not even be aware of it.
Then there are other antibodies like rubella and varicella which cannot be injected during pregnancy. So, even if you have taken these vaccinations earlier, your doctor might advise you for a booster in case any deficiency found during the blood tests. Lack of these antibodies can cause mild to severe complications in the newborn. According to Christina Sun, an OB/GYN at Lakeridge Health, a community hospital in Oshawa, Ont, “We advise that women avoid children or patients with rubella until they give birth.”
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
A number of sexually transmitted infections can be a cause of infertility and it can adversely impact your health or your baby’s health during pregnancy. Diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea mostly go undiagnosed, but they have the ability to damage Fallopian tubes causing infertility. So, during the initial examination, if your doctor feels, she might suggest you undergo STI tests.
The other tests your gynecologist may suggest you are:
-Weight check. Having the right BMI is important for getting pregnant and being able to carry a life in you for 9 months.
-Mental health screening. Pregnancy causes massive mood swing, so to reduce the risk of mood disorders, a preconception mental health screening helps.
-Urine test. To check if there is any UTI or pre-existing kidney ailment.
-Gynecological Screening. To check for uterine fibroids, cysts, benign tumors or any pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID) along with irregular periods and polycystic ovarian syndrome or any other gynecological condition which could cause a hindrance in conceiving.
-Breast, Pelvic and Abdominal Examinations. Breasts are checked to confirm no lump demanding attention exists. To checks for infections such as yeast or trichomoniasis, the pelvic examination is done.
-PAP Test. This test helps the doctor to know if you are infected with Sexually-Transmitted Diseases (STD) like gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV or Hepatitis B. In case of any abnormalities observed during the test, your doctor will go for a colposcopy.
When you are planning for pregnancy, nothing can beat the age-old proverb “precaution is better than cure!” Be careful and enjoy motherhood.