Becoming pregnant is an important moment in a woman’s life. Every women wants to have an uneventful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Ideally, care should begin before conception. Therefore, before becoming pregnant, consult the nearby qualified doctor and get prenatal counselling done. Prenatal counselling, basically means, taking medical advice before planning to become pregnant so that you can take all required precautions for a healthy pregnancy.
The main aim of prenatal counselling is to optimize the medication and the medical conditions so as to make the pregnancy safer for the mother and have a healthy baby. What type of check-up is done during prenatal counselling? During prenatal counselling, your doctor will: do your general health check-up; enquire about your medical history; enquire about your personal history; enquire about your family history of diseases like diabetes, thyroid problem, high blood pressure, etc.; enquire about any surgery if you have undergone in the past; enquire about your lifestyle; enquire about your nutritional habits; enquire about your immunisation status. Prenatal counselling helps to confirm the physical and mental health of would-be parents, and the doctor may give you necessary advice regarding the preventive and remedial measures needed to be taken. What type of advice / medication may be given during prenatal counselling? If you are overweight, you may be advised to reduce weight. If you are underweight, you may be advised to have a proper diet so as to achieve a normal body weight. Advice regarding diet will be given even in normal cases.
For females who are in the habit of smoking and drinking, the hazards of smoking and alcohol during pregnancy may be explained. If you are suffering from diabetes, thyroid problem, high blood pressure, kidney disease, neurological problems, asthma, depression, epilepsy the doctor may get certain blood tests done so as to see if these problems are under control. Any abnormality in the blood reports may be treated by giving appropriate medicine and then you can plan for becoming pregnant. For females with previous family history of neural tube defect (NTD), the doctor may advice folic acid supplementation, which is taken in the form of folic acid tablets. It is noteworthy that before and during pregnancy, intake of folic acid has been shown to reduce the risk of neural tube defect and other birth defects like cleft lip and congenital heart disease. Therefore, the doctor may generally advice you to start folic acid supplementation before becoming pregnant because if it is started after the pregnancy is diagnosed it may be too late as most of the major malformations might have already occurred in the first 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy.
The recommended dose of folic acid is 400 µg daily after meals with no previous history of neural tube defect. For females with previous family history of neural tube defect (NTD), a dose of 4 mg of folic acid is generally taken daily while planning pregnancy. Immunity to Rubella is checked by Rubella IgG test, and immunisation is given if you are non-immune to it. You may be advised to avoid pregnancy for another one month after immunizing against Rubella. Since prevention is always better than cure, prenatal counselling will reduce the need for desperate measures to be taken during pregnancy and during delivery.
Rubella: Rubella (or German measles or three-day measles) is an infection caused by the rubella virus. A rash may start about 14 days after exposure and may last for 3 days; usually starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body. The rash is sometimes itchy and swollen lymph nodes are common and may last a few weeks. A fever, sore throat, and fatigue may also occur. Complications may include bleeding problems, testicular swelling, and inflammation of nerves. Rubella infection to a woman during early pregnancy may lead to a child born with congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) or miscarriage.