Written by Aparna Hari
Your preconception care starts with a preconception check-up. Your doctor may recommend a preconception test after discussing with you in detail about your medical history and the lifestyle you follow. After that the doctor will counsel you regarding the steps to take to conceive without any hassle. Preconception testing for women includes a physical checkup, a few blood tests and a couple of scans of your doctor deems it necessary.
Your doctor will recommend preconception tests during your preconception checkup visit. You should share with your doctor about your health, lifestyle, and habits you follow such as smoking, exposure to toxic and chemical substances, alcohol consumption, your food habits, physical activities, etc. Based on the information you provide your healthcare provider will suggest you do a few tests and then let your know about your body’ readiness to conceive and have a baby depending on the results.
In This Article
Preconception testing consists of various tests essential to know if your body is prepared for pregnancy. Your health care provider will also get to know through the tests if your body is ready for bearing a child. If there is any complication in conceiving, then the doctor will recommend suitable treatment to overcome the problem.
Your doctor may also recommend fertility supplements and vitamins for women to improve your reproductive health and improve your chances of conception and healthy pregnancy. Ideally, you should get preconception testing at least 3 to 6 months before you plan to try for a baby. Preconception testing is an important aspect of conscious conception where the parents can consciously prepare themselves physically and mentally to invite a new family member into their life.
Preconception testing is a fundamental component of health care before you decide to get pregnant. Many diseases can be treated or the risks can be reduced as they are identified promptly and cannot pose a threat to the mother and the baby’s health.
Sometimes a healthy woman can also carry diseases without any symptoms. But it may lead to serious health hazards if not treated during pregnancy. Without blood screening, a woman cannot be sure if she has any diseases or is infected with vaccine-preventable diseases.
Blood screening will tell you if you have any disease or if vaccination is required. Vaccination is recommended to take before pregnancy and not during the same. Doctors need consent for performing the screening procedure. You can take this test before or during pregnancy.
You can decide on a preconception test anytime – even before a year you want to conceive. You can take this test even if you already have a baby. A lot of changes take place between two pregnancies. Your health may not be the same as your last pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may help you to avoid the problems you had in the past pregnancy. So it is better to get a check-up done even if you had delivered a baby in the past.
Here is the list of the most frequent tests that your doctor may recommend for you. These include basic examinations, blood tests, urine tests and scans.
This examination includes checking your weight and blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause multiple pregnancy complications. Detecting and working on it before pregnancy is vital for safe delivery.
Your gynecologist will do an examination of the pelvic organs which include the vagina, uterus, ovaries and cervix to check if they are functioning properly. The cervix is atop the vagina which leads to the uterus. If there are any problems during the examination, you can get the treatments before pregnancy. Proper treatment can also help avoid fertility problems.
This test is important because it will reveal urinary tract infections and diabetes. If sugar is present in urine according to the report, you have to undertake a blood sugar test for diabetes.
Your doctor will recommend blood tests to help identify issues such as anemia, immunity to rubella, HIV, hepatitis B, thalassemia or other conditions, chickenpox, herpes, thyroid dysfunction, etc. If the blood test reports highlight concerns, the doctor may recommend other tests like kidney or liver function tests.
You need to know your blood type and blood antigen on the red blood cells before pregnancy. Rh is a protein present in red blood cells. If your Rh factor does not match your baby’s Rh factor then it may lead to problems later on.
This is significant because it helps to know if there is any growth or development of cyst in the ovaries. Your doctor may recommend ECG or 2D Echo depending on the medical examination.
A Pap smear test is recommended every two to three years. If you do this test every year or two years you don’t have to do it again before pregnancy. This is a medical test where the health care provider collects cells from your cervix to detect cancer.
If you have any family history of any genetic health conditions, it is advisable to check for genetic disorders. The doctor will check your and your spouse’s health conditions and recommend a screening to check for genetic disorders. This will help determine if there is a risk of transmission of a genetic disorder to the unborn child.
Before you conceive, prenatal care begins by visiting doctors for a thorough top-to-bottom pre-conception check-up followed by tests. The check-up will help to tackle health issues before a baby is on board and ensures a smooth and healthy pregnancy.
Before you go for a preconception test, you need to be prepared with all the information your doctor may want to know. So here’s a checklist of all the information you need to gather before you head out to the doctor’s clinic for preconception testing:
It is good to consult a doctor before your plan for a pregnancy. Preconception check-ups and tests will help you to know your ability to conceive and the changes in your lifestyle and habits required to ensure a smooth pregnancy. It is important to optimize health before planning a pregnancy with a few lifestyle modifications which include a healthy diet and regular exercise.
You will see a doctor plenty of time after you conceive. But for pre-conception testing, you need to consult a doctor ahead of time. If you have any health complications that can affect your chances of pregnancy then it is important to cure them. You have to undertake several tests. Your doctor will also conduct a pre-pregnancy check-up for you and your partner to know about your medical history.
Preconception testing for women should be made an important part of preconception care. Early handling of any issues that may interfere with conception and pregnancy can be efficiently handled much ahead of time, ensuring that you have a safe delivery and a healthy baby.
Hormones that are tested for fertility include Follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, Luteinizing hormone or LH, Prolactin and Complete thyroid profile. Androgens Test is carried out for women with ovulation or Polycystic ovarian problem (PCOS).
Hormone testing for understanding male fertility is also important as it impacts the chances of conceiving. Hormonal imbalances, past surgeries, infections, and more may affect sperm quality.
Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.
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