Preconception examination and medical checkups is important nowadays, unlike the previous generations where there was no existence of preconception tests and women planned pregnancy without any medical aid. With lifestyle changes and modern day related activities concerning diet, exercise and habits various medical problems have emerged which may interfere with conception. It is crucial to seek a doctor’s advice before planning a pregnancy as there may be some dormant medical conditions that you may be unaware of which may affect your pregnancy.
Below are the common medical problems which a doctor will rule out
- Anemia: Many women have anemia and are completely clueless about it. A blood test will help measure the hemoglobin level and a complete blood count will be done. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause complications in pregnancy and affect fetal growth and development.
- Blood pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension can cause placental problems and various other complications. It is important to mange blood pressure problems throughout your pregnancy.
- Thyroid disorders: A blood test is done to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). An under active thyroid or hypothyroidism can cause infertility or miscarriage if it is not treated. An overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism if left untreated can cause premature birth or a low birth-weight in the newborn.
- Diabetes: Women who are diabetic need to control their blood glucose levels to reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs): Most STDs are silent in nature with very little symptoms while causing serious damage to the reproductive system. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea when left untreated can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Common tests during preconception medical examination are
- A pelvic exam and a pap smear to check any abnormalities in the birth canal such as infections, growths and cysts.
- A blood test to determine the Rh factor as having Rh negative factor can cause complications during labor and would need appropriate treatment.
- Immunity to Rubella (German measles) and Varicella (chicken pox): Tests will be done to check your immunity against Rubella and chicken pox. An infected pregnant woman can cause the newborn to have various birth defects.
- A urine sample is studied to rule out urinary tract infections (UTIs) and diabetes. Infections of the urinary tract may cause complications such as miscarriage, preterm birth and low birth weight.
Health information that your doctor needs to know
Your doctor will ask you other health information related to the below topics
- Family medical history: Information regarding certain medical conditions running in the maternal and paternal family will be assessed, such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy and mental retardation. Some couple may need genetic counseling if there are hereditary conditions in the family.
- Personal medical history: Information regarding your personal medical conditions, medication, pervious surgeries is gathered. Any information concerning previous pregnancies, miscarriages and abortions are to be provided.
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