Pre Pregnancy Check
If this is your first baby, or you had problems with a previous pregnancy, or either of you have any health concerns, it’s a good idea to see your family practitioner or gynaecologist obstetrician for a preconception check-up. This is also the time to discuss any long term medication that you may be taking and to arrange to have some blood tests to check whether you are healthy to embark on the pregnancy journey…
Blood tests for the pre-pregnancy check.
- Complete blood count – this is to rule out anaemia (anaemia – low haemoglobin count), a common condition that can be treated easily in most cases.
- IG antibody to Rubella to check whether you are immune to rubella (German measles). If you are not immune,you can be vaccinated, although you’ll be advised not to become pregnant until the vaccine virus has cleared from your blood which takes about one month.
- Thyroid stimulating hormone – this is to check the functioning of your thyroid gland. A high TSH value may indicate a low level of thyroid function, which needs to be corrected as it may lead to sub fertility and also to lower IQin the baby as it affects neuro development of the unborn baby inside the womb.
- Tests for sexually transmitted conditions like VDRL, HIV, Hepatitis B and C.
- Thalassemia screen – this is important in some communities like Sindhis, Lohanas, Gujratis, Bengalis, Parsis,especially if you are marrying within the same community. If by chance, you have the gene for this condition (thalassemiaminor) and your partner (husband) also has this, then you have a 25% risk of having a child affected with a condition called thalassemia major. If both parents are carriers, it is possible to check whether the unborn fetus is affected by thalassemia by prenatal diagnosis. Prenatal diagnosis by Chorionic Villous Sampling is possible at 11-12 weeks of pregnancy.
Vaccines before marriage / pregnancy
- Rubella vaccine (if not immune already)
- Varicella vaccine (if you have not had chickenpox as a child)
- HPV vaccine – this new vaccine is recommended for girls between 16-26 years, before sexual exposure. This prevents cervical cancer and genital warts.
- Folic acid – at least 400 micro gm per day. If you are taking anti-convulsant medication, are diabetic or have previously had a baby with spinal defects, then a larger dose of folic acid (5mg per day) is recommended. This should betaken for 3 months BEFORE conception and for 3 months after conception. This medication has no side-effects and is safe, so it is better to take it for some time as it may be difficult to plan the pregnancy very precisely.
In general, any medication that you need for your general health should be continued (for instance, if you have epilepsy, your anti-epileptic medication should be continued). The exact dose and type of medication should be reviewed by an expert.