Pre-Pregnancy

Planning a baby? Here is your health checklist.

image courtesy: masterfile

Now that you have decided to have a baby you need to prepare yourself !

Check a few things about your health before planning a pregnancy

HEMOGLOBIN LEVEL

Anemia ( low hemoglobin) is a common finding across all age groups and social strata. Make sure that your  pre pregnancy hemoglobin level is at least 10gm%.

You can do CBC to know the hemoglobin level.

BLOOD GROUP

It’s a myth that there would be a problem during pregnancy if your and your partners blood group is same. But check for your Rh status. You should know if your blood group is negative or positive. A negative blood group of mother and a positive blood group of father needs a special attention during pregnancy . Ask for blood group and Rh factor test.

THYROID PROFILE

Abnormal thyroid gland function can cause inability to conceive , early abortions, fetal anomalies and , growth restrictions. How ever thyroid disorders can be treated and the levels can be normalised with regular medicines. A normal thyroid level is a must for a healthy baby. Get T3,T4& TSH levels done.

INFECTIONS

Some of the infections ( not all)  in mother can be passed on to the baby in utero. To tackle such cases one must know about infective status before pregnancy .

It’s recommended to do following blood tests for both parents :

  • HIV
  • HBsAg
  • HCV
  • VDRL

Don’t Panic even if you or your partner test positive for any of the above tests. Contact a doctor and you can get expert advise about treatment options / how to minimize the chances of spreading the infection to the partner and the baby.

VACCINATION

The following vaccines should be considered before planning pregnancy.

( Find out from old records or speak to your mom to know if you have completed the childhood vaccination. Wish your mom had Vytal app when you were a baby! )

  • Rubella & Varicella – Vaccination should be completed. pregnancy should be deferred for 3 months after Rubella vaccination.
  • Hepatitis B –  3 doses of Hepatitis B vaccine are recommended before conception. However  Hepatitis B vaccination with an ongoing pregnancy is safe.
  • HPV –  HPV vaccination should be considered and completed before conception. In case woman becomes pregnant after receiving the first dose of  HPV vaccination,  the next dose would be deferred till delivery.
  • Tetanus and diphtheria immunization can also be considered.

WEIGHT

Overweight or Underweight women can have difficult pregnancy. If your BMI is in the obese range it is advisable to reduce the weight before you attempt pregnancy. You can do this by exercise and diet. But don’t go on weight reduction program once you start trying for a baby. Track your weight regularly.

SMOKING AND ALCOHOL INTAKE

Active or passive smoking could be detrimental to conceive. Semen abnormalities can be detected in chronic smokers. It’s best to quit smoking and drinking before you decide about having a baby.

Wishing you a beautiful pregnancy journey!

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