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Pre-pregnancy health checklist

Past medical history

Check your cervical smear

Urine analysis

Blood test

Blood pressure

Screening tests

Go through your immunization records

Parasitic disease check

Folic acid

Drinks, drugs, and cigarettes

Time to talk

Counseling and genetic testing

Every parent wants to have healthy babies, and for that, they need to be prepared well much before getting pregnant. If you have decided to get pregnant, plan at least a year ahead. If you can do so, then the changes that you have applied to your body will take good effect. You need to take some medical advice before you conceive if you have any existing medical condition like diabetes, epilepsy or asthma. In such cases, you have to consult with a doctor to discuss about your health at least three months before you want to conceive.

Pre-pregnancy health checklist

You can also avail use of the pre-conceptual check for women who have existing medical conditions and many of the hospitals are offering it now. As a precaution, some doctors ask for you to undergo a general pre-pregnancy check up even if you do not have any existing health problem. Some of the private health insurance providers also offer you health check before you conceive.

Past medical history

Pre-pregnancy health check ups are always advisable and if you have one, your doctor will ask about your physical condition and lifestyle, your food habits and exercise habits, and whether you and your partner are exposed to any environmental problems while at home or at work. The doctor will also ask whether you have any existing physical problems like depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, or lupus. He may also ask about any genetic problems in your family like cystic fibrosis or Down's syndrome.

You should also tell your doctor the type of contraception that you have used and whether you have any menstruation or ovulation problems, miscarriages, terminations, ectopic pregnancies, delivery complications, and the like.

Check your cervical smear

You need to check the last time you have done a cervical smear test and book in advance for one if you are due to have one within the next year. You have to note that the cervical smear checks are not usually done during pregnancy and it will not either be done for six months after the baby is born.

Urine analysis

The doctor will ask you to check for a urinary tract infection (UTI) if there is any chance for you to have it. These infections are usually associated with miscarriage, premature labor, and low-birth weight babies; so if you have any of these you need to get it cleared before you conceive.

Blood test

Blood test is very common to look for any abnormalities and to confirm that you do not have anemia. You may be also checked for thalassaemia, sickle cell anemia and Tay-Sachs disease depending on your ethnic background and medical history. People of Mediterranean, Jewish and African origin are of increased risk to these problems.

Blood pressure

It is mandatory to check your blood pressure because pregnant woman with hypertension are likely to develop pre-eclampsia and placental problems.

Screening tests

It is better for you to do screening tests before you conceive, for Hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV/AIDS and get treated (or managed in the case with HIV/AIDS) if you have any of these diseases. It will definitely increase your chances to have a successful pregnancy. Some doctors will also ask you to test for Chlamydia too.

Go through your immunization records

Many of the infections that cause miscarriages or birth defects can be prevented. If you have vaccinated for rubella (German measles), you must wait for at least one month to get conceived. It is so because the body needs some time to eliminate the live virus though there has been no evidence right now about rubella immunization in pregnancy and birth defects.

You may take a tetanus booster and it will be a better idea to consider vaccination against chicken pox. The disease could cause problems to your unborn baby if you catch it for the first time during pregnancy. However, if you have this disease in the past, you will already be immune against it. If you think you are at risk of Hepatitis B, you may also consider vaccination against that disease as well.

Parasitic disease check

A simple blood test can tell you whether you have any parasitic diseases like toxoplasmosis that are quite harmless in adults but are fatal to a developing baby and a newborn. Infections like toxoplasmosis are often transmitted through undercooked meat or cats. You may use gloves while gardening and should take extra care when handling raw or undercooked meat.

Folic acid



Folic acid is very important in pregnancy and neural tube defects can be prevented by taking food that is rich in folic acid or by taking folic acid supplements regularly. Usually, you will be asked to take 400 micrograms of folic acid for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and your doctor will tell you how much folic acid you need to take after the evaluation of your case. In case you have a family history of neural tube defects or chronic health condition like epilepsy, your doctor will ask you to take a higher dose of folic acid. This is a very simple drug, but prevents lot of problems if taken in the prescribed dose.(Read more about Best reviewed fertility supplement)

Drinks, drugs, and cigarettes

You should quit street drugs, alcohol and cigarettes if you have these habits, as the habit will cause a lot of trouble to your baby while you are pregnant. The doctor you consult may offer you a smoking cessation program if you want one. Similarly, if you have other habits like taking street drugs or heavy doses of alcohol, he can also help you to find a way out of it so that your baby will get a healthy start.

Time to talk

Pregnancy is a very important time, and each and every action you take will affect your newborn. You may talk out all your worries and concerns about it and you may talk with your doctor if you need to take any long-term medication. Sometimes, the doctor may ask you to change the medication and settle with a new treatment if you have any existing problems. For instance, medicines like ibuprofen that are commonly used should be avoided during pregnancy and it is not safe to take medication for severe acne.

Counseling and genetic testing

Most of the newborns do not have any genetic problems and are healthy. However, about 1 to 2 percent of them are born with a major or minor birth defect. If you have any risk factors such as genetic disease or such an instance with your family, you may be referred to a genetic counselor.



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