Dec 2, 2021
Must-have health check-ups before becoming a parent
When you start planning your family, it’s normal to start dreaming about the moment you see the two pink lines on the Prega News home pregnancy test kit, or about the moment when you will hold your newborn in your arms. It is a big milestone in any person’s life and should be cherished. However, to ensure that the days ahead are happy and healthy, there are some things to be considered when you start planning a family and also ensure that your health is monitored before conceiving. When considering family planning, you must consult your doctor for health check-ups including hereditary diseases etc. and there are some things to ask your doctor before you conceive that can help you prepare better for the road ahead. Additionally, your doctor may also recommend some tests and ask questions that will help assess the fertility of both you and your partner. There are many things in today’s world like stress, lifestyle and other factors that can affect your fertility or even the pregnancy. So it’s best to consult your doctor before you start trying to have a baby.
Pre-pregnancy health check-ups are extremely important and can help avoid certain conditions or health risks that may affect you or your baby. With pre-pregnancy check-ups, it’s possible to assess the fertility of the couple, which can give you a better idea of the road ahead - what to expect and how long it can take to conceive. Along with this, pre-pregnancy health check-ups also include assessing overall health, genetic disorders, hereditary diseases and more that can possibly affect your pregnancy or even your baby. Thus, it’s important to get these tests done to eliminate any chances of not being able to conceive, miscarriage, preterm birth and also help ensure a healthy baby, post a safe birth.
List of check-ups
When you consult your gynaecologist, they will recommend tests to assess you and your partner’s overall health. While these tests are often determined by both individuals’ family history, healthy history etc. there are some tests that should almost always be included in the pregnancy health check-up:
- Routine OB-GYN check-up: If you haven’t already started, this is a good time to have a dedicated gynaecologist in order to help you understand more about your reproductive health. They can help you track menstrual cycles, understand your fertile window and also conduct ovulation tests. Additionally, they may also advise getting your partner’s sperm tested for understanding his reproductive health. It is also advisable to do a check-up for STIs as these can often hamper your chances at conceiving.
- Getting tested for hereditary or genetic disorders: Whether your family has a history of diabetes, or some genetic disorder on either side, it’s important to get tested for these. Knowing your family history and health, can help avoid many genetic problems in baby and even chances of miscarriage.
- Vaccinations: Your doctor will check your previous immunization records and may ask for some blood tests to check for antibodies. This is a good time to get your vaccinations up to date as there are some vaccines which are not safe during pregnancy but can be given before or after to protect both mother and baby.
- Dental check-up: Pregnancy often causes gum inflammation which can lead to infections. As radiation from X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy, it is best to address your dental health before pregnancy so the dentist can treat any existing problems.
- Mental health check-up: Although this may come across as unheard of, mental health is of paramount importance when it comes to planning a family. Stress, depression, anxiety and other such mental illnesses have become fairly commonplace, owing to the fast paced lifestyle. These can not only affect your fertility, but also affect the pregnancy, leading to preterm birth*. If you are already consulting someone or are under prescribed drugs, it’s best to cross-check these with the doctor before trying to conceive. It is also a good way of addressing the mental health issues and ensuring that you are at your best self when you bring home the baby.
- Lifestyle habits: Depending on your lifestyle, your doctor may recommend further changes and tests to determine the effect of common everyday habits like fast food and drinking on your overall health like kidney function, liver function etc. to better prepare for the arrival of your baby. Recreational drug usage, alcohol consumption and smoking is to be stopped completely and even caffeine intake have to be monitored and modified to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. This may also include physical exercises to stay healthier.
- Physical check-up: You can consider getting a physical check-up done to address any small or underlying issues that may have been nagging you for a while. It’s essential to be in good physical and mental health before bringing home your baby. If you have any back aches, joint pain, susceptible injury spots etc., this is the time to address all of those. You will not only be carrying your baby to term but also tending to a newborn and thereafter a child, so you should be in good physical health with plenty of energy.
- Dietary check-ups: There are certain foods that can help you be in your best health and others that can hamper your health and chances of conceiving. So it’s a good idea to have your dietary preferences cross-checked by a specialist to ensure that you are eating the right food.
Whom to see - types of practitioners
Depending on the tests recommended, you will need to see different specialists or practitioners, who can help you during this time. While your general physician can give you a full list of doctors to consult, here are some practitioners you should include in your pre-pregnancy check-up:
- General physician - for a full body health check-up including hereditary and genetic history.
- Gynecologist - for assessing reproductive health of both you and your partner.
- Dentist - to get a regular check-up and ensure your dental health is okay before getting pregnant.
- Physiotherapist - addressing any pain/niggle in your body, as you will not only need to carry your baby but also tend to the newborn, which would require good physical health and energy.
- Psychologist - to address any existing or underlying mental health illnesses like stress, anxiety etc.
- Dietician - to ensure that you are eating healthy and eating the right food.
Why is pre-pregnancy check-up necessary?
Along with determining your overall health for conceiving and carrying the baby till birth, pre-pregnancy check-ups also help find and treat other issues that can affect you or the baby. From genetic disorders to psychological issues - pre-pregnancy check-ups are necessary to ensure a healthy pregnancy, safe childbirth and healthy baby.
What happens during the check-up?
During a pre-pregnancy check-up, your doctor will assess you and your partner’s chances of conceiving naturally. These tests will also help eliminate genetic and hereditary disorders that may affect the pregnancy or your baby. Through these routine tests, which often include blood tests and other scans, your doctor will guide you to ensure a healthy pregnancy, with minimized risks of miscarriage or preterm birth.
Can I find out genetic health related answers with this test?
Yes, pre-pregnancy tests also help determine hereditary and genetic health related issues that can affect the pregnancy and your baby. The doctor will likely recommend these tests for both you and your baby, to rule out genetic disorders from either parent.
Leave a Reply
Want to join the discussion ? Feel free to contribute !