Preconception Health Checkup: How to get Pregnant

The Importance of Preconception Health Checkups and Treatment of Prevailing Ailments

Any form of disease a mother suffers from will inevitably affect her child during pregnancy. Therefore, preconception health checkups are necessary to identify prevailing diseases and undergoing appropriate treatment if there is any detected. What are the types of preconception tests? What are the conditions that must be treated before conceiving a child? Make sure you are equipped with the answers to these crucial questions.

Essential Preconception Checkups

Hepatitis B

preconception

A mother infected with Hepatitis B will pass on the disease to her newborn the moment it passes through the birth canal. Hence, for a safer pregnancy, mothers should go for proper immunization before conceiving. After the first vaccination, two more vaccinations are required in the subsequent two months for complete immunization. In a situation where an original hepatitis carrier is unable to be vaccinated, the best option to prevent the child from developing hepatitis is to provide the child with globulin immunization or vaccine.

Rubella

Rubella (German measles) has flu-like symptoms; hence it is commonly brushed off as common flu and left untreated. If a mother suffers from Rubella, her fetus will develop cataracts, hearing disorders, heart disease, developmental disorders and other congenital abnormalities between the first four months of pregnancy. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to do a Rubella Antibody Test to check for the existence of natural antibodies against Rubella. If there are no Rubella antibodies in the body, the mother would need to undergo a three month period of Rubella vaccination, and only conceive after vaccination process is completed. If pregnancy occurs without possessing any antibodies against Rubella, the best option is to take appropriate measures to prevent contacting Rubella by avoiding crowded places and washing of hands regularly.

Anemia

An Anemia check is required before pregnancy to determine if the mother has iron deficiency. If she has anemia, she will need to undergo two to three months of treatment before conceiving her child. As pregnancy requires more blood than usual, insufficient supply of iron will result in anemia. Severe anemia results in lack of oxygen which will hinder the proper development of the fetus, as well as develop adverse effects towards the mother. Under such circumstances where anemia is prevalent, blood transfusions are required to aid the problem. Mild anemia requires around two weeks of treatment, whereas severe anemia would require approximately two to three months of treatment. After such, the healthy level of iron in the body may be maintained by consuming iron-rich foods.

Syphilis

A Syphilis infected mother will transmit the pathogens to the fetus via the placenta. Syphilis exists largely without any display of symptoms so it may only be detected through blood tests. Therefore, it is important to undergo a proper Syphilis check before conceiving a child. Pregnant women suffering from Syphilis are prone to miscarriage and stillbirth during the fifth to sixth month of pregnancy. Furthermore, children affected by Syphilis tend to be more lethargic, experience loss in hearing and develop hypoplasia. Milder symptoms include developing a flat nose and uneven teeth. A child will be safe from Syphilis if the disease has been adequately treated before or within the first two weeks of pregnancy. Besides Syphilis, other sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS should also be thoroughly checked before conceiving.

Diseases that Require Treatment before Pregnancy

Vaginal Infections

Vaginal infections caused by bacterial do not possess very prominent symptoms and may be easily prevented. However, if vaginal infections are left untreated, it may cause inflammation in the bladder and kidneys which may then spread to the cervix, resulting in permanent infertility. Bacterial from vaginal infections during pregnancy may be transmitted from the placenta, causing infection in the fetus such as conjunctivitis and pneumonia-like symptoms. Vaginal infection treatment is relatively straightforward. However, if it is not treated in its earlier stages, it will lead to serious consequences.

Heart Disease

Depending on the severity, females suffering from heart diseases have a higher potential of premature birth or dystocia during pregnancy, with the worst consequence being maternal death. Therefore, women having a heart disease should discuss the possibility of safe pregnancy with a doctor before conceiving. If they were given the green light to conceive, mothers with heart conditions should take extra precaution to ensure ample sleep and rest during the entire pregnancy.

Hypotension

It is normal for blood pressure to decrease during pregnancy and then rise back again to normal levels after childbirth. Aside from rare conditions such as gestosis, blood pressure in pregnant women is generally low. Therefore, women with hypotension should take extra precaution during their pregnancy. However, compared to other health issues, the chances of hypotension rendering one unable to conceive to somewhat low.

Hypertension

Women with hypertension may still undergo pregnancy. However, there is a tendency to give birth to underweight children with gestosis. The best option to avoid complications for women suffering from hypertension is to get adequate rest and do some mild exercises during pregnancy. Also, expectant mothers with hypertension should partake in general hypertensive therapy such as paying close attention to diet, taking antihypertensive, keeping calm and having a positive mindset for a smooth pregnancy.

Chronic Kidney Inflammation

Acute kidney inflammation has absolutely no effect on pregnancy once it has been treated. However, in the case of chronic kidney inflammation, it may easily lead to gestosis as the pregnancy progresses. Besides hindering the healthy growth of the fetus, gestosis may also cause the expecting mother to develop serious complications. If a woman suffering from chronic kidney inflammation conceives, depend entirely on the doctor’s advice. Anyone who is deemed fit but had a history of chronic kidney inflammation should also undergo regular blood pressure and urine tests to ensure that they are safe to conceive. Most importantly, expecting mothers should keep a calm mindset, avoid consumption of spirits and consume foods with low levels of sodium.

Tuberculosis

For women suffering from tuberculosis, it is best to avoid pregnancy entirely. Due to the body’s disability to take in sufficient nutrients and lowered lung functionality, there is a high chance of miscarriage, premature birth, and fetal deformity. Even if a woman has been cured of tuberculosis, it is strongly advisable for her to discuss her pregnancy prospects with a specialist.

Diabetes

Pregnant women suffering from diabetes are four times more prone to gestosis compared to a healthy female. Diabetes causes enlarged fetuses, which tend to cause labor difficulties and damage of the birth canal. Hence, the necessity to perform a Caesarean section is highly probable. Moreover, diabetes has the tendency to cause fetal death from postpartum hemorrhage and polyhydramnios disease. Neonatal mortality resulting from diabetes is also higher than the average newborn. Multiple malformations, hereditary diabetes, neuropsychiatric disorders are all common occurrence in diabetic infants.

The chances of any birth defects, fetus, and maternal complications depend entirely on whether diabetes has been properly treated before conceiving. Therefore, diabetic women planning on getting pregnant must first discuss with their relevant specialist regarding their blood sugar regulation, when it will be safe to conceive, and be aware of the types of blood sugar control problems during pregnancy. During pregnancy, diabetic women must also pay particular attention to their diet to regulate their blood sugar.

Hepatitis

Acute morning sickness and loss of appetite are especially prevalent in women with liver dysfunction. Due to the increased burden on the body during pregnancy, the function of the liver is further hindered and if the expectant woman gets physically weaker and unable to proceed with the pregnancy, she might have to undergo an artificial abortion. Hence, it is strongly advisable to consult with a doctor before conceiving.

A chronic carrier of Hepatitis B will inevitably transmit the disease to her newborn during breastfeeding, so it has to be avoided. It is highly recommended to seek treatment before conceiving. Compared to mothers who are chronic carriers, more than 90% of neonatal infection in children of non-chronic carriers may be prevented with immunoglobulin and vaccine inoculation.

Ovarian Tumors

Pregnancy causes most ovarian tumors. Tumors developed in the early stages of pregnancy gradually increase in size, but are hardly dangerous nor require surgical removal. However, if the tumors were present but left unnoticed before conceiving, it could result in large, troublesome issues. Furthermore, if the tumors were found to be malignant via ultrasound, surgery would be required either immediately or around the fourth month of pregnancy. Surgery for the removal of the tumors is recommended to be performed around the fourth month due to the stabilization of the pregnancy, where the risk of miscarriage and effects on the fetus is lower.

If an ovarian tumor was found during pregnancy, it might be left untouched for observation. A surgery should only be considered once it grows to a significant size with a diameter of 6 cm or more. Unless it is the personal preference of the expecting mother to undergo a Caesarean section, natural childbirth is fine as long as the tumors are checked.

Uterine Tumors

Uterine tumors occur in the uterus lining and cause the appearance of abnormal bleeding, increased menstrual flow and prolonged menstrual period.

The effects on pregnancy in women with uterine tumors vary according to the size and location of the tumor. Most uterine tumors do not have a significant impact on fetal development and childbirth. So unless the tumor grows and causes a congestive reaction, pain and induce premature labor, a majority of them are only left to observation. However, if the placenta develops on the location of the tumor and results in placental abruption, both mother and child would be put at risk.

Sandra Henderson
 

Editor-in-chief at Babiology and a proud mother of four passionate about sharing pregnancy and baby growth knowledges

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