Planning to conceive? You have a lot to do apart from getting busy in bed. Visit your doctor and discuss necessary preconception screening tests you should have before getting pregnant. Make sure there is no threat to your pregnancy as well as to the child you are going to give birth.
The prenatal care predates your conception and begins as soon as you think about having a baby. You need to prepare your body for maternity and childbirth and do every possible effort to avoid the risk of birth defects in your baby. Screening tests prior to pregnancy help discover conditions that may impact fetal development and cause medical issues in your baby. Timely identification of preexisting issues allows you to make informed decisions about pregnancy and work to prevent any risk to the mother’s life. You may also seek treatment beforehand or work to reduce any threat posed to your child’s health.
Even a healthy woman may be a carrier of a disease or genetic disorder without known symptoms. You can only find them out through pre-pregnancy tests. These can cause serious consequences, including pregnancy complications, and spoil your efforts to give your child the best start in life. Here is a list of preconception screening tests you must have before getting pregnant.
Genetic Preconception Screening Tests
Do you carry an abnormal gene? Does your partner have any genetic abnormality? Can your ethnicity or family history cause physical or genetic disorders in your baby? Abnormal genes in parents can cause rare physical and mental disorders in children, including thalassemia, cancer, spinal muscular atrophy, sickle cell, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, etc.
Genetic screening tests determine the vulnerability of your child to inherited disorders. These preconception screening tests let you know if the baby would be a carrier only or develop any recessive disorder due to parental genetic defects. It even educates parents about possible triggers and special needs of the child in the future.
Preconception Screening Tests for Blood Group and Antibody
Blood screening test prior to conceiving can help determine a mother’s blood type, Rh factor, and blood antibodies. A child born to a Rh- woman and a Rh+ man may suffer from hemolytic disorders, which have the potential to damage the brain and cause the death of a newborn. Early diagnosis through preconception screening tests can help ensure timely treatment with immune globulin that reduces the risk of the disease in her baby.
The level of antibodies in the blood determines the need for vaccination prior to pregnancy. Update your vaccines before you become pregnant.
Rubella Preconception Screening Tests
Also known as German measles, infection by rubella virus often goes unnoticed. Unless you have the screening for the virus before pregnancy, it may lead to birth defects in your baby. A pregnant woman cannot have the vaccine for rubella. Therefore, you must undergo the screening before conceiving and make sure your body has adequate immunity to protect you against the infection.
Preconception Screening Tests for Sexual Transmitted Diseases
Chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea can cause serious problems during pregnancy. These sexually transmitted diseases can harm you and your baby. Undergo screening tests and make sure you have no such risk to your pregnancy. If preconception screening tests are positive, you can have antibiotics to treat these diseases effectively.
Preconception Screening Tests for Hepatitis Virus
You must have screening for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infection before getting pregnant. These highly infectious diseases can transmit to the baby and cause serious health issues. A woman screened for hepatitis antibodies and vaccinated can be saved from being either a chronic or an infectious carrier of the virus with less chance of any future medical issue in her child.
HIV Preconception Screening A Must
A woman must avoid getting pregnant if she or her partner has an HIV infection. A child has a higher chance of getting infected in the mother’s womb if the mother is an HIV carrier. Even if precautionary measures are taken during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the chance of infection is still around 30%.
Other Important Preconception Screening Tests
- Thyroid disorder
- Cervical cytology
- Vitamin D and folic acid
- hemoglobinopathy, a genetic disorder causing abnormality in hemoglobin
- Chickenpox antibodies
Apart from these preconception screening tests, you should focus on your mental health. Depression, anxiety, and similar psychological disorders may also affect the developing baby within you.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com