Do you have a pregnancy anxiety? At Max Healthcare we believe in providing you with a preconceptional or pre-pregnancy counselling. These are a set of interventions that are aimed at identifying and modifying biomedical, behavioural, and social risks to a woman’s health or the pregnancy outcome through prevention and management.
In simple terms, it is a way to ensure that the woman is healthy before conception and so is the health of her future children.
Dr. Uma Vaidyanathan suggests few points for a preconceptional visit to your gynaecologist:
- Talk about your Past gynaecological history: Previous pregnancies, menstrual history, contraceptive use, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Pap smears, vaginal infections. STIs and vaginal infections may affect your ability to conceive.
- Medical/surgical history: Surgeries, transfusions, hospitalisations, pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, current medications (including prescribed and over-the-counter medications). The nature of medications is important as some of them are known to be teratogenic which may hamper your pregnancy.
- Family health history: Hypertension, diabetes, twins, genetic factors such as h/o mental retardation or inherited disorders in family members. These may impact your pregnancy.
- Lifestyle habits: Stress; exercise; diet; use of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol or recreational drugs. The partner’s habits also should be discussed as his lifestyle may affect fertility.
- Home and workplace environment: Possible dangers such as exposure to cat faeces, x-rays, lead or solvents
- Physical Exam: Heart, lungs, breasts, thyroid, abdomen and pelvic exam. Weight and blood pressure should be recorded.
- Order lab tests: Including rubella, hepatitis, complete blood count (CBC), Pap, HIV, the basic hormonal profile including thyroid function and blood sugar levels if periods are irregular.
- Discuss how to chart menstrual cycles: Fertility awareness. Prescribe a prenatal vitamin with 400-800 micrograms of folic acid
Based on the exam, your gynaecologist may suggest lifestyle changes that may need to be made to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. These suggestions may include weight loss, quitting smoking or drinking, not taking any medication that could be harmful to the pregnancy or baby, updating your immunisations, taking recommended vitamins, and avoiding stress. Also, a balanced diet is very important. Good nutrition prior to and during pregnancy is needed for your baby to grow and develop.
Thus, the goal of preconception care is to reduce the risk of adverse health effects for the woman, fetus, or neonate by optimising the woman's health and knowledge before planning and conceiving a pregnancy. Because reproductive capacity spans almost four decades for most women, therefore optimising women's health before and between pregnancies is exceptionally important to minimise complications during pregnancy and delivery.