Health checks you need to do before getting pregnant. Your chances of getting pregnant are much higher if you follow some important health basics at least six months before you try to conceive.
The thought of bringing another life into this world should be enough motivation to adopt a healthier lifestyle and if you’re planning to start or expand a family, then it’s time to check your health and well-being.
However, here are health checks you need to do before getting pregnant
Check Your Family Medical History
There are medical conditions that are hereditary. You and your partner should take the initiative to understand more about medical conditions that run in the family and how these can potentially impact the baby, especially because some genetic conditions are carried by women but only expressed in men.
Have A Routine Medical Check-Up
We tend to take our health for granted. Besides taking these medical checks because you want to fall pregnant, you should make a habit to get checked every year or as often as possible.
Check your blood pressure to see if is not chronic. A basic breast examination and Pap smear is also a good idea. See a gynaecologist for a pre- pregnancy check to perform a vaginal ultrasound for ovarian cysts, fibroids and other pelvic abnormalities.
This is also an opportunity for you discuss any other gynaecological problems such as menstrual problems, pelvic pain, vaginal thrush and other medical problems which concern you.
Also learn about delivery options that are available so that you remain informed to make an empowered decision in the future.
When you want to be a parent, you need to be physically, financially and emotionally fit. Make an appointment with a family doctor for guidance, support and to assess if you are ready for this responsibility.
Watch What You Eat
Although you need to check what you eat all the time for a healthy lifestyle, it now becomes crucial that both you and your partner get into the habit of eating mostly nutritious food.
The following basic blood tests will help determine your nutritional status:
- Vitamin D: Most doctors now check vitamin D levels owing to a common deficiency among individuals. Research has confirmed the link between vitamin D deficiency and many chronic illnesses.
- Homocysteine: Homocysteine is an amino acid that causes inflammation and free radical damage to cells.
Experts warns that smoking, drinking alcohol, accumulated stresses and unhealthy eating increase these levels. Studies have also shown the link between high homocysteine levels and pre-eclampsia and other pregnancy related complications.
- Cholesterol: A full lipogram, to measure the exact amount of different types of cholesterol, should also be done as this can encourage healthier eating.
- Haemoglobin: This is the basic screening test for anaemia.
- A glucose screening test: to rule out chances of diabetes or pre-diabetes.
German Measles (Rubella)
While most women would have been vaccinated at school for Rubella, it’s vital to check that the levels of immunity are still in a protective range.
If the illness is contracted in the first trimester, it can cause severe central nervous system abnormalities, as well as deafness and blindness in your unborn baby.
To be on the safe side, get immunised or re-immunised before conception.
Specific blood tests will determine if you currently have an active or dormant STI. It’s also important to know your HIV status so you can be treated with antiretrovirals as soon as possible.
Some doctors also check for other viral infections.
Other Important Tips To Boost Your Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
- Studies show that alcohol, drugs and smoking can lead to miscarriage, premature birth or foetal deformities. Stop smoking and the use of recreational drugs and cut down on your alcohol intake. These baby steps can make a world of difference.
- Limit processed and refined food and try to eat a balanced and nutritious, which compromises of fruits and veggies.
- Create and follow a regular exercise or fitness programme as it’s good for your mind, body and soul. With gyms closed due to the Corona virus pandemic, take regular walks and jog within your compound or around the neighbourhood.
- Take care of your emotional well-being and find ways to relax. Remember that taking care of your emotional well-being is as important as taking care of your physical health when planning to conceive.
- Start supplementing with a good multivitamin that includes folic acid. Folic acid is vital to the formation of the neurological system in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Often women don’t know that they’re pregnant in the first few weeks, so it makes sense to supplement with folic acid while you’re planning to conceive.
We wish you all the best as you consider all these health checks you need to do before getting pregnant,