Preconception care aims at a healthy and happy mother and ensures that the baby comes into the world without the risk of health defects. Preconception care is an important step towards planning a smooth pregnancy. The decision to have a baby and nurture a life inside you is a big one and involves a lot of thought and planning. Everyone wants to have a smooth pregnancy and childbirth and a couple deciding to start a family would ideally need the right guidance to ensure the health of the future mother and baby.
Dr Sangeeta Gomes, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Bengaluru, told HerZindagi that "Healthy parents make healthy babies. Meeting your gynaecologist after taking the decision to have a baby ensures that the parents-to-be are aware of their health status and can take necessary precautions before conceiving. The doctor will help and advice on any interventions that may be needed so that the future offspring comes into this world without any adverse health implications."
Here are some key points suggested by her that you must keep in mind.
Folic Acid Supplements
Firstly, all women planning to conceive will be advised to start taking folic acid supplements to prevent brain and nerve-related disorders in the baby. The doctor will check on the diet and lifestyle, any particular habits that need to be changed, ask about past illnesses or surgeries, any illnesses running in the family and check the weight of the woman.
Normalising Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar
Those who have chronic lifestyle problems such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension will be advised to bring their blood sugar and blood pressure to normal levels before conceiving. Women struggling with obesity issues will be helped to bring their weight down to avoid infertility problems. Similarly, thyroid-related disorders can hamper the chance of a pregnancy and therefore need to be appropriately treated.
Take The Reproductive History
The doctor will ask questions about the mother-to-be on the menstrual cycle, contraception history, earlier pregnancies and both the partners will be asked about sexually transmitted diseases or earlier family planning.
Talk about your exercise routine, how much and what type of exercise you do and how often. The doctor will accordingly advise on the amount of physical exercise necessary depending on your health status.
Apart from the folic acid that women who are planning a pregnancy need to take, they may be asked to follow a diet rich in fiber, iron and vitamins and cut down on caffeine intake.
The doctor may enquire about vaccination history and whether or not the woman has been vaccinated against rubella and chicken pox, infections that can prove dangerous to the foetus.
The doctor may recommend a complete blood test to look for possible infections or lifestyle-related disorders. The blood test will also give a clue about possible iron deficiency in the future mother and she can be prescribed an iron rich diet and supplements accordingly. Also, it is imperative to undergo certain important tests and investigations to rule out later complications during pregnancy.
The woman may be offered to a Pap smear, ultrasound scan, HIV, Hepatitis and Thyroid test apart from a general body examination. The man may be asked to undergo a semen analysis.
Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more pregnancy-related tips from experts.