There’s nothing quite like bringing a child into this world to make you realize how incredible the parenthood journey is. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re ready to experience this miracle for yourself.
But did you know that there’s more to pregnancy preparation than just knowing your menstrual cycle and getting off birth control? There are a lot of things a mom-to-be and her partner should know as they attempt to conceive.
Are you ready to start a family?
When we talk about readiness for pregnancy, it’s more than just being physically fit to bear a child. You have to examine it from all angles. Are you mentally prepared to go through the pregnancy experience? Pregnancy can be one of the most joyful experiences a woman can have, but it can also be nerve-wracking.
Other than that, you have to consider your finances. Prenatal checkups are a must when you get pregnant. For those experiencing trouble conceiving, fertility treatments may be needed. Besides that, there are hospital expenses for the baby’s birth. Beyond all this, it is most crucial that you and your partner are financially prepared to raise a child.
There are a lot of intricate details couples have to work out as they plan to get pregnant. It’s better to talk about these early on and sort out issues that may arise so when the baby comes the focus will be on caring for the newborn instead.
Go for a preconception checkup
When preparing for pregnancy, it’s best to get a thorough medical checkup. You may not be pregnant yet, but you should get your body ready to carry your baby.
At Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, your baby will be cared for long before he begins to come to this world. It starts with taking care of the mom-to-be. Recognized as a baby-friendly hospital under the World Health Organisation’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI), Gleneagles offers preconception checkup services that help get your body in tiptop shape for pregnancy.
Here’s what you should expect in a preconception checkup. Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history, birth control method, menstrual cycle, lifestyle and diet, and current health status. If you have a chronic condition, you should also tell him/her about it so it can be tackled before you get pregnant. Let your facilities doctor know what types of medication you’re on so he/she can check if these are safe for pregnancy. At your checkup, some tests will also be performed such as a physical exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound scan to check for ovarian cysts and fibroids.
Speaking of ovarian cysts, you should not be alarmed right away if you find out you have one. Dr. Lim Min Yu, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist, and Fertility Specialist at Gleneagles Hospital Singapore, explains that ovarian cysts are common. “Most ovarian cysts are harmless and go away on their own without special treatment,” he says. However, it is still best to have these checked to make sure.
This is also a good time to get your immunisations in order. These vaccines will protect the mother’s health and at the same time, pass on antibodies to the baby. The antibodies help your baby fight disease-causing pathogens. You’d want to get vaccinated for rubella, chickenpox, and hepatitis B.
The other vaccines you may receive later on are for influenza (flu) and Tdap to protect your baby in the first six months of his life. “For pregnant women, it is recommended to get two vaccines: the inactivated flu vaccine and the Tdap vaccine,” says Dr. Lim Min Yu. In Singapore, it is recommended to have a flu vaccine between 16 to 32 weeks gestation. The doctor also underscores the importance of the Tdap vaccine. “While it protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), the main benefit is to provide passive immunity to your baby from whooping cough,” he says.
When to get a fertility check
Remember that getting pregnant is a couple’s effort. To conceive, women must ovulate and their uterus must be normal. Meanwhile, men should have good quality and number of sperm. The timing must also be correct. At your preconception checkup, your doctor will give you advice on the best time to try for a baby. However, if you find yourself unable to get pregnant, you and your husband may need to come in for a fertility checkup.
Dr. Watt Wing Fong, Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital Singapore encourages couples to go for a fertility check if they’ve been trying for a year and nothing is happening. They may need fertility treatment. “The success of fertility treatment is largely dependent on a woman’s age. If you seek treatment late, the chances of success will be reduced,” she says.
However, try not to do it too early as well. About 80% of women would get pregnant within a year. It’s easier said than done, but try not to be stressed. Dr. Fong says stress affects a woman’s ovulation and a man’s sperm quality and impacts the couple’s sexual activity. The added pressure can affect you and may hinder you from conceiving.
Fertility treatments to help you get pregnant
Some couples are unable to conceive naturally and may need to undergo fertility treatments. It is best not to delay these treatments as fertility drops with age.
Gleneagles Hospital Singapore offers cutting-edge fertility treatment options. The medical institution specializes in ovulation induction and monitoring, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Ovulation treatments involve giving you medication to regulate ovulation or increase the number of eggs produced in your cycle. On the other hand, ICSI is an assisted reproductive technique that’s commonly used alongside IVF. Lastly, IVF means fertilizing the egg and the sperm outside the woman’s womb. Other fertility procedures include automated semen analysis, sperm cervical mucus contact test, frozen-thaw embryo transfer, and laser-assisted hatching. These treatments are all designed to help a woman get pregnant, but of course, they do not guarantee that you will be able to bear a child.
If you decide to undergo this treatment, you need to be mentally prepared. “Have realistic expectations,” advises Dr. Watt. Not all cycles would be successful and even if you do get pregnant, the pregnancy decides for itself how it’s going to go. When you come in for fertility treatment, your doctor will determine the cause of infertility. From there, he will assess the most suitable option for you. Gleneagles’ trained and dedicated medical team will guide you every step of the way. They are prepared to help manage your fertility issues, accompanying you in your moments of stress and celebrating with you when your baby is born.
What you can do
On your own, there are ways to help your body prepare for pregnancy. It starts with lifestyle modifications. If you are smoking, stop immediately. Even if you’re not pregnant yet, this habit may hamper your chances of conceiving, so the earlier you quit, the better. It would also be necessary to avoid alcohol. These go hand in hand with eating healthy. Load up on vegetables and fruits, drink plenty of water, have enough protein, and try to curb sugar.
Knowing all these pieces of information can help you get ready to become a mom. When you and your partner decide to start trying for a baby, visit Gleneagles hospital for your preconception checkup. You may know more about their reproductive health services here.