Pre-pregnancy screening and counselling
September 15, 2020
Starting a family is a major decision. It requires as much preparation and planning as any great project. Assessment of strengths and weaknesses, treatments to strengthen weaknesses and evaluation of risks, if any, will decide conception and the course of pregnancy and childbirth.
Preconceptual care includes pre-pregnancy screening and counselling which helps couples take informed decisions based on their health status. It helps couples manage chronic health problems and prepare for their pregnancy by improving their health. Pre-pregnancy screening is essential to identify couples who are at risk of passing on genetic defects to their babies and this information helps couples take decisions regarding pregnancy.
Health assessment is vital for timing of pregnancy. A couple’s habit history helps establish the chances of conceiving and the health of the foetus. During an assessment your smoking, alcohol, drug usage (medical and otherwise), weight issues, infection status (past and present) including chicken pox, shingles, hepatitis and HIV, history of past pregnancies, miscarriages (if any), risk of genetic and chromosomal abnormalities/ inherited genetic disorders and chronic health issues such as diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy, thyroid problems, inherited blood disorders, psychological problems, bone problems, heart and kidney problems are evaluated.
The purpose of pre-pregnancy assessment is to identify and measure
- The risk of infections during pregnancy
- The risk of passing on genetic disorders to your baby
- The risk of complications during pregnancy
- The risk of preterm birth
- The medical management required for chronic illnesses
- The supplements and treatments required to improve health to aid conception
- Your overall health and your reproductive capacity to carry your baby to term
Pre-pregnancy counseling after the screening and testing will give you a clear picture of your health and reproductive health. Counselling will help you establish a healthy lifestyle. If you have certain conditions that could hinder pregnancy or cause problems during pregnancy, they can be treated before you conceive.
Pre-pregnancy screening and counselling will include
- Cervical screening
This is done to identify cancerous or precancerous cells. This test cannot be done during pregnancy.
- Medication review
To check whether your regular medications interfere with conception or harm the baby
- Environment review
Certain work environments may expose you to harmful chemicals or radiation. A review of your environment will enable us to prescribe measures to counter this problem if it exists.
- Vaccination review
Certain vaccines such as chicken pox, rubella and hepatitis are not usually taken. If a threat is perceived, you will be advised to take these vaccines to prevent infection during pregnancy.
- Chronic disease
If you have diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, thyroid disease etc. you will be given special care to keep them under control to prevent complications during pregnancy.
- History of miscarriage
If you have a history of miscarriages, then the cause will be diagnosed. In some cases, there may not be any special cause. Whichever the case, you will be under continuous monitoring and get constant support in addition to additional tests and consultations to keep you healthy.
- Older women
If you have started late and are over 35, you will require additional screening tests, special advice and guidance to ensure an uneventful pregnancy.
- Genetic screening
Certain genetic conditions may be inherited and you may be a silent carrier of a defective gene that will pass on a blood disorder to your baby. A genetic screening will provide information based on which you can take decisions regarding pregnancy and your baby.
- Lifestyle counselling
Diet and exercise counselling are provided to help you adopt healthy eating, sleeping and exercise habits. If you smoke, consume alcohol or use drugs, you will be provided help to overcome these habits, as they will harm your chances of conception, complicate pregnancy and may be injurious to your baby.
With good pre-pregnancy screening and counselling, we can time your pregnancy to the most fertile period in your reproductive life, ensure your health and your babies health, and reduce complications during pregnancy, childbirth and after.