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Pre-Pregnancy Screening

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can feel overwhelming especially if it is going to be your first time. One good way to prepare yourself and to give you the best chance of having a safe and healthy pregnancy, is to go for a pre-pregnancy screening/counselling

What is pre-pregnancy screening?

Pre-pregnancy screening or preconception counselling helps to ensure that you and your partner are in a healthy condition that is ideal for conception. This is especially important as couples delay pregnancy until they are in their 30s.
A pre-pregnancy screening will provide you with information that may encourage you to make lifestyle changes that could improve your health, giving you a better chance of a healthy pregnancy.
Pre-pregnancy screening helps to screen for any potential risks during pregnancy or any potential hereditary diseases that may be passed on to your baby and check if you are up to date with your vaccinations.

pre-pregnancy screening

How does pre-pregnancy screening work?

Before the pre-pregnancy screening, your obstetrician will require more information from you and your partner regarding the following:

  • Medical conditions: some medical conditions can reduce fertility or are associated with higher risks of pregnancy complications .
  • Family history: genetic conditions that run in the family can be passed on to your baby or may cause pregnancy complications.
  • Lifestyle factors: smoking and drinking have been shown to reduce fertility and negatively affect the development of your baby, resulting in low birth weight and tissue damage in your baby’s lungs and brain.
  • Mental health: pregnancy can bring about many emotions and they may not all be positive, mental health is just as important as physical health when embarking onto a pregnancy.
  • Environmental exposure: exposure to certain environmental toxins can result in premature births, birth defects, stillbirths, and low birth weight.
  • Vaccination status: Immunity against hepatitis B, chickenpox, and rubella prevents complications caused by these diseases during pregnancy. If you are found to be not immunised against these diseases, it gives you the opportunity to receive the appropriate vaccines prior to pregnancy.

After the discussion with your obstetrician, you and your partner will undergo the following tests (where applicable):

  • Full medical history and detailed consultation
  • Blood tests which include full blood count,blood group and thalassemia test
  • Pap smears /HPV testing
  • Blood pressure and body mass index measurement
  • Physical examination
  • Urinalysis to check for kidney problems and urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV and syphilis
  • Rubella antibody testing
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Screening for diabetes
  • Screening for hepatitis B
  • Screening for gynaecological conditions such as, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids , and endometriosis.

These tests are used to ensure that you and your partner are in optimal health to conceive a baby, which helps to reduce pregnancy complications. Once your results are in, your obstetrician will discuss them with you and guide you on the next steps.

What are the benefits of pre-pregnancy screening?

The benefits of pre-pregnancy screening are:

  • Ensures that you are well-vaccinated against preventable diseases and illnesses such as rubella, chicken pox, and hepatitis B.
  • Encourages you to make healthy lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and eating healthily.
  • Encourages you to quit smoking and alcohol and provides you with the support you need to quit.
  • Introduces supplements to you such as folic acid, prenatal vitamins, iron, calcium, and vitamin D.
  • Identifies and helps to optimise any pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Review and adjust any medications to those that are appropriate for pregnancy.

Pre-pregnancy screening is aimed to prepare you and your partner for a healthy pregnancy. This is particularly important for women with pre-existing medical conditions. It helps to ensure the best chance of a healthy and smooth pregnancy.

What should I expect after a pre-pregnancy screening?

The next steps after your pre-pregnancy screening, depends entirely on your results.
You may expect the following after your pre-pregnancy test:

  • Update your vaccines if you are missing any
  • Change your lifestyle
  • Quit smoking and drinking
  • Start taking supplements
  • Adjust any medications to those suitable for pregnancy
  • Make an appointment with your dentist to treat gum disease as it may cause pregnancy complications

Frequently asked questions

  1. Why must my partner undergo a pre-pregnancy screening too? Getting pregnant involves both you and your partner. Genetics and lifestyle choices of both parties play a huge role in pregnancy and the health of the future baby.
  2. How soon should I go for a pre-pregnancy screening? Ideally, you should make an appointment for a pre-pregnancy screening at least 3 months before you decide to get pregnant.
  3. I have been pregnant before; must I still go for a pre-pregnancy screening? Yes, your obstetrician will be able to factor in any issues you faced during your last pregnancy and advise you on the next best steps to take.

3 Mount Elizabeth
#09-08 Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre
Singapore 228510

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