One thing that every parent-to-be must know is that caring for a child starts well before the baby even arrives, especially if you are the parent who is going to be carrying the baby for 9 months. Pregnancy can be an extremely exhausting and tiring time for your body, so it’s important that both parents stay fit and healthy. From the moment you decide you want a baby, you need to make sure that you are doing everything to get into good physical and mental shape. This will help tremendously in getting pregnant easily, catering to the baby while it is in the womb, preparing for delivery and caring for your newborn. One way to get your ducks in a row and work on certain problem areas is to figure out where you are healthwise. And a couple of tests can help you with that. Here are a few checkups you can do before trying to conceive to make sure that you are in the best shape possible for your little baby.
1. A General Checkup
This is a great place to start. Even though you’re sure to have a million doctor’s appointments once you get pregnant, it’s best to get a general check up done before you’re expecting. Entering your pregnancy in optimal health will ensure that you are a healthier parent and have an easy healthy pregnancy. And isn’t that what everyone wants? At your first pre-pregnancy visit, you will have to answer a lot of questions so that your doctor can determine what you need to do in order to get into good shape. You will discuss your weight, exercise, nutrition, medication, medical history, vitamin intake, menstrual periods, and what birth control you are currently using.
You will also have to disclose if you’ve had any previous pregnancies and your lifestyle habits in detail. This way the doctor will be able to get an overview of your health and can recommend a blood test, blood pressure check up or a pelvic exam. You may also need to do a Pap test and other screenings. If there are some chronic health diseases like diabetes, thyroid disorder, asthma or autoimmune disorders in your family, your doctor will address these issues as well. You will most likely have to work on bringing these diseases under control before attempting to conceive a baby.
This will also be a part of your preconception visit. Making sure that you’ve taken all the current vaccines as a precautionary measure to avoid any illnesses while pregnant is a must before you conceive. This is done to make sure that no illnesses that are harmful for your pregnancy or the baby appear during the course of your pregnancy. Some vaccines to consider taking are those for Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), Hepatitis B, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and chickenpox. You can also get a flu shot before or during your pregnancy to be on the safer side. It’s important to make sure that your partner is fully vaccinated as well. If they contract chickenpox, they could easily pass it onto you. If they get infected during your third trimester, you will be faced with the risk of exposing your newborn to an adult who is unwell and can pass on the infection to a very vulnerable little being. So make sure you start getting your vaccines at least 3 to 6 months before you get pregnant in order to build immunity and stay healthy.
3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases(STDs)
This is one thing that most couples overlook because they assume that it isn’t necessary due to them being in a monogamous relationship. Even if this is the case it’s better to be safe than sorry. Untreated STDs can cause many serious health problems for your pregnancy and the health of your baby. Take chlamydia for example, it has been linked to preterm labor and low birth weight. Gonorrhea can lead to miscarriages, low birth weight and premature birth whereas syphilis has been linked to stillbirths, premature birth and problems with multiple organs such as the baby’s eyes, brain, heart, skin, teeth and even their bones. So, it’s best for both you and your partner to be screened thoroughly before you conceive as a precautionary measure. This way, you protect your future baby from many harm.
Going to the doctor for a checkup can be daunting even when you’re not planning to grow a human in your body. But it is a must when you are. This way you and your partner can ensure that you both are in optimal health and stay that way when your baby arrives. Getting in shape to conceive easily takes time and effort. So make sure you take these necessary steps and reap the benefits in the future.
- Incidence of sexually transmitted infections during pregnancy, NCBI
- Chlamydia trachomatis infection during pregnancy associated with preterm delivery: a population-based prospective cohort study, NCBI
- Adverse Birth Outcomes and Maternal Neisseria gonorrhoeae Infection: a Population-Based Cohort Study in Washington State, NCBI
- Congenital Syphilis, NCBI
- Vaccinations for Pregnant Women, NCBI