Tests before pregnancy: Important, but why?
Increase your chances of a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby by running the required pre-pregnancy tests
A pre-pregnancy checkup helps couples planning to have a baby understand their health and fertility status. Taking the right tests before pregnancy can ensure that you and your partner don't have any illnesses that could affect your pregnancy.
Dr Rajeev Agarwal, fertility expert, CareIVF, Kolkata, tells us which tests before pregnancy should form an important part of a preconception examination.
Blood for Thalassaemia test for both partners
Thalassemia is a genetic disorder. It results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia. If both the partners are carriers of the Thalassemia gene (Thalassemia minor), there is a 25 percent chance of the baby inheriting the defective gene from both parents, resulting into a more serious form of the disease.
Blood for Rubella IGG
Rubella is a viral infection. If a pregnant woman gets affected by this disease, it could potentially cause serious problems in the development of the eyes, heart or hearing in the baby. A Rubella test is ordered to verify wether a woman has a sufficient amount of rubella antibodies to protect her from infection.
"Most women would have been previously immunised by the MMR vaccine after birth. However, if the immunisation was missed, then the consequences can be quite serious. Hence it makes sense to test for past immunity against Rubella,” informs Dr Agarwal.
Blood for Vit D Total
Vit D is minutely involved in cellular processes in the body and is intricately linked to sperm and egg development. You may be advised to spend some time in the sun to elevate your vitamin D levels.
Blood for Vit B12 for vegetarians
Another important vitamin connected to vital cellular activity and healthy egg development is Vit B-12. It is predominantly available only in animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry or eggs. Your doctor may prescribe supplements in the form of tablets or injections if low levels of this vitamin are found in your blood.
"It has been proven beyond doubt that deficiency of either vitamins can lead to fertility issues,” adds Dr Agarwal.
Blood for AMH or Anti Mullerian Hormone to assess egg quality
AMH or Anti Mullerian Hormone is an indirect test for ovarian reserve. The ovarian reserve of a woman decreases by about 5.6% per year after the age of 20 and more rapidly after the age of 30.
"We are finding more and more women with poor ovarian reserves even at a young age despite having no other medical problems or prior significant history,” states Dr Agarwal.
Usually, no obvious symptoms are exhibited by the body when the eggs start showing a decrease in quality. This is where the sensitivity of an AMH test benefits doctors.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, Dr Agarwal recommends the following pre-pregnancy tests as well.
- A pelvic ultrasound to rule out any sudden surprise findings later on
- Husband’s sperm analysis
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