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While you need to go for regular health check-ups during pregnancy, pre-conception care is also necessary. Before you conceive, you should know that you are medically healthy and fit without underlying complications. If you are planning a pregnancy in your 30s, a pre-conception check-up becomes more important with medical problems arising due to ageing, changing lifestyle, and increasing stress levels.
Medical screening before conceiving a child has several benefits for a couple. A pre-pregnancy check-up can tell you, if you are prepared to bear a child or not and decrease the possibilities of miscarriages or any birth defects in the future. Your doctor will ask you to follow a few instructions and run a few tests to look into your current health status.
Here are a few screening tests that you should get done before conceiving, especially if you are over 30 years of age:
A PAP test helps in the diagnosis of cervical cancer among women. A gynaecologist will run a swab on the inner skin of the cervix to collect cells and examine them under a microscope. The doctor can easily identify pre-cancerous cells, so as to start the treatment before cancer spreads.
Your gynaecologist will prescribe you several blood tests to check the levels of the following conditions:
Thyroid conditions can directly impact your fertility and menstrual cycles. Therefore, your doctor needs to check thyroid levels in your body. If you suffer from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, an external supply of thyroids will help you bear a child.
The immunity against Rubella may decline over a while. So, you must undergo an antibody test to know whether you are still protected against it or not. Rubella can cause miscarriage during pregnancy; therefore, you should receive vaccination after consulting your doctor. Vaccination can only be given before pregnancy.
You must undergo Hepatitis B screening to avoid passing on the infection to your newborn. If the test comes out as positive, you will be vaccinated against the infection before your pregnancy. Many women can also infect others if they suffer from Hepatitis C. Your gynecologist will try to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to the baby during childbirth.
You must undergo an ultrasound of your genital organs and pelvis to look for health conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, etc. If you suffer from any reproductive health issues, proper treatment can help you conceive with reduced complications.
Blood screening is necessary to identify the blood type of women if they are not aware of it. Your gynecologist will see whether the Rh factor is negative or positive. If a woman with blood type Rh- conceives a child with a Rh+ partner, the baby can suffer from the hemolytic disease, causing damage to the brain and death. If you are Rh-, you will receive anti-D injections during pregnancy and even after childbirth.
Apart from these, you will also be tested for several blood disorders like Thalassemia, caused by low hemoglobin production. There are high chances that the condition can pass on to the baby. Also, get yourself tested against HIV from time to time as the disease can have severe outcomes during delivery and breastfeeding. If you have never been vaccinated against varicella or chickenpox, you must undergo an antibody screening for the same.
It is better to conceive a child by taking the necessary precautions to avoid any future complications for you and your baby.
Last but not the least, taking folic acid tablets three months prior to conception is a must.
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