The very decision of having a baby comes with a list of tick boxes which need checks in front of them. Screening yourself to make sure your body is ready enough to support the growth of the baby becomes the most important criteria. In case you are on birth control pills, the tests and a visit to your gynecologist becomes even more prominent.
Following are some of the tests suggested to be taken before planning for a baby:
BMI: Body Mass Index is one of the major criteria pertaining to the weight-height relation of an individual. A BMI less than 18.5 and more than 24.9 could cause hindrance in conception. Thus make sure your weight is within normal limits.
Pelvic examination: The physiology and health of the uterus is checked to rule out any possibilities of PCOS and Endometriosis, which are the major contenders contributing to infertility.
Pap smear test: Procedure involves scraping of few cells from uterus to screen them for cancer, pre-cancer or other infections.
Test for TSH: A blood test to measure the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is required to rule out any chances of hypo/hyperthyroidism, both of which adversely affect the mother and the baby if untreated. Many babies are born with lower IQs when a woman with untreated hypothyroidism during/before pregnancy.
Genetic screening: This test is suggested for both the man and the woman. Blood or saliva sample can be screened to check for any abnormal genetic conditions which the couple could pass on to the child. Conditions like Sickle cell anemia, Cystic fibrosis, Diabetes, Asthma and various others can be screened.
Screening for infectious diseases: HIV, HBV, HPV, Herpes, Rubella, Chicken Pox are some of the diseases which sometimes fatally affect the process of conception and child bearing. A screening for these is mandatory.
Blood test for Rhesus factor: The 4 types of blood groups (A, B, O and AB) come with two Rhesus factors, Positive and Negative. A negative Rh factor in the mother can lead to problems during the second pregnancy, since antibodies developed during the first could treat the fetus as a foreign object and start attacking it. Thus, a negative Rh factor should be taken care of to induce sensitization.