Are you in top shape to get pregnant? Do you have any medical histories or a genetic disorder running in the family that could affect your pregnancy?
Most women who are planning a baby don’t really give importance to pre-pregnancy tests. In fact, scheduling a visit to the doctor a few months before you start to conceive can give you a head-start to a healthy pregnancy and avoid unwanted pregnancy complications. Based on your fitness and medical history, your medical practitioner can advice you the steps you need to take to brace up for pregnancy.
Read: Pre-conception Checklist
What your doctor will need to know about you?
Apart from your general health condition and fitness levels, the doc will need to address specific issues related to gynaecology, family health issues, previous pregnancy history, vaccinations and lifestyle habits. Here’s a brief of what your doctor needs to know about you.
About your menstrual cycle
- If you’re having regular periods and how long it lasts.
- If you’re having erratic periods, do make it a point to mention it. Your doctor can advice you how to deal with it. Erratic period makes it difficult for you to judge your fertile period.
If you’ve been on birth control pills, and for how long? Some contraceptive pills may take you longer to regain your fertility.
Past Pregnancy History
- If you had any pregnancy complications, preterm labor, preeclampsia, diabetes, etc), miscarriages, abortions, and other gynecological issues, such as fibroids.
- Did you suffer from post-partum depression
- Did you have normal delivery or a C-section (or any other like Forceps)
- Was your baby healthy or did it have any complications?
Your Medical History
- Do you have any chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure?
- If you’ve been on any specific medication for any health issue.
- Any instances of previous surgeries?
- If you smoke and consume alcohol, or a die-hard coffee addict, you need to be honest and discuss this with your doctor as it may affect the developing baby. She can probably give you tips on how to tackle it before you get pregnant.
- Your exercise regime: Being both overweight and underweight can affect the health of your baby. So its important for you have a healthy weight.
- Your diet too has a significant role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Getting the right nutrients can lower the risks of birth defects. After reviewing your diet, your doctor may advice you to take iron and folate supplements.
Routine Tests And Physical Examinations
- Blood test to check your blood count. If you’re aneamic, the doctor will put you on a course of iron tablets.
- Tests for HIV and Hepatitis B
- Urine tests to check for diabetes and urinary tract infections.
- A complete physical examination, including your height, weight and blood pressure
- A full vaginal, pelvic and breast exam as well as a Pap smear
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.