Jul 12, 2010
Posted in Pre Pregnancy

Significance of Pre-Conception Medical Checkup

Expectant mothers are subject to a battery of check-ups and testing, but physicians recommend several medical exams for women even prior to getting pregnant.

In case a woman has decided to have a child, the foremost thing to be done is visiting an obstetrician and gynaecologist, advisably at least a couple of months prior to attempting conception. Taking this step would give a woman ample time in case needed to seek genetic counselling, if there is a past of gynaecological issues or in case a medical condition has to be managed.

On visiting a physician, the couple would be extensively queried regarding lifestyle like (Does one smoke or drink or a regular exerciser?); personal medical history (whether one is diabetic or a surgery in the past?); and ultimately about the medical history of both the partners (any relations having hypertension or heritable condition (like Down’s syndrome)? These questions are intended to uncover any condition in the kin which could have an effect on reproduction.

On the basis of what answers are received, a gynaecologist could then ascertain a woman’s risk of varied conditions which might impact her capability of conceiving and maternal-fetal health post-conception. Any acute ailments like being diabetic or high blood pressure would require to be supervised by an expert during a woman’s gestational period.

Checkup of Former and Current Lifestyle

During the foremost pre-conception visit to the doctor, evaluation of STDs or sexually transmitted diseases would be done as they could impede fertility. Due to this reason, it is vital to come clean regarding former and present sexual behaviourism. Based on a woman’s past, she might undergo screening for presence of diseases like herpes, BV (gardnerella), syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia which need treatment prior to conceiving or their presence ruled out in case there are problems in getting pregnant.

Based on one’s vocation, one might require taking other precautionary measures. For instance, in case one is working with senior citizens and optionally in a hospital setting then a woman must get vaccinated with hepatitis B shot. This inoculation is also necessary in case a woman is regularly travelling to high risk nations.

A pre-pregnancy examination is an ideal time to tend to regular health examinations which might be tricky or not recommended during gestational period. In case a female has not got a Pap smear in the past 1-2 years, then prior to trying conception it is advisable to undergo it alongside a pelvic examination.

For women in their forties or more and not recently undergone a mammogram, the doctor could recommend one, according to the parameters put forth by the ACS (American Cancer Society). Breast evaluation during gestational period would be tricky and majority of the females would rather not be exposed to radiation and its associated health risks when pregnant.

Immunity and other Problems

A woman’s inoculation history would be reviewed during a physician’s pre-pregnancy visit, hence it is advisable to be ready with a listing of vaccinations and when they are administered. German measles or rubella inoculation is checked by several physicians despite the woman having received it during infancy. In case a female has not been immunized, then she could get the shot prior to conception. German measles have been known to be causal to birth anomalies in case a female contracts it in the initial trimester of pregnancy.

According to the ACOG recommendation, if MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations are required, these must be administered a minimum of 3 months before conception. Additionally the chicken-pox or varicella vaccination is crucial and must be taken a minimum of a month’s time prior to getting pregnant.

Apart from the commonly conducted tests, a discussion with the physician could uncover a family history and likely threat of a heritable disease. In such a scenario, genetic counselling is advised for gauging the extent of risk and the kind of precautionary measures to be taken.

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