5 preconception tests every woman should take before pregnancy

December 30, 2013 11:46 AM

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Pregnancy whether planned or unplanned is a special phase of life which needs to be handled with care. You wouldn’t want to have an unhealthy baby which means your body not only has to be fit but also ready for pregnancy. Though you can control that through proper diet and exercise, there are certain preconception tests every woman should undergo to rule out the chances of any abnormality in the progeny. Dr Sadhna Singhal, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Delhi’s Sri Balaji Action Medical recommends the following tests.

Complete haemogram – Also called the complete blood count (CBC), it is a broad screening test which is indicative of various blood diseases and disorders like anaemia, sickle cell anaemia, and thalassemia.

In this test, a technician ties a band around your arm so that the veins on that hand are more prominent. The site of withdrawal of blood is cleaned with an alcohol swab. A new disposable syringe is used for each patient. The vein is entered with the syringe and the blood withdrawn.

If you suffer from bleeding or clotting disorders or are taking medicines like aspirin, warfarin or other blood-thinning agents, the bleeding might take a while to stop. Do tell the doctor and the people at the lab before the test about the same. (Read: CBC – what you need to know)

HIV – HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and is commonly diagnosed by testing one’s blood or saliva through which the antibodies to the virus are detected. HIV infection is spread from person to person when human blood and sexual fluids (semen and vaginal secretions) are shared. It can be transmitted anytime during the pregnancy, labour and delivery, more so during late pregnancy and delivery.

If the woman already knows she is HIV positive and wants to have a child, it is best to consult a doctor who can guide her on how to get pregnant with methods which do not involve unprotected sex. If the man is HIV positive and the woman isn’t, a process called sperm washing can reduce the transmission of HIV to the mother and hence the child. In either case, the infected partner may need to be on antiretroviral drugs to fight the virus, depending on the viral load in the body. (Read: Prevention of transmission of the HIV virus to the child during pregnancy)

HBcAg – HbcAg test is a test that indicates if a woman is infected with Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is transmitted through exposure to infective blood, semen, and other body fluids; and can be transmitted from infected mothers to infants at the time of birth or from family member to infant in early childhood. It is a potentially life-threatening liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus.

Source: health.india.com

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