1. Blood tests for mothers and fathers-to-be include:
2. Physical examination, including the breasts, to check the total health of the body. A breast check will help in preparation for breastfeeding in the mother-to-be. If she has flat or inverted nipples, proper preparation can reduce the chances of breastfeeding failure.
3. Internal examination and cervical cancer screening to ensure that the mother does not have any serious diseases, such as cancer, that could emerge during pregnancy, as cancer treatments can be dangerous for the baby.
4. Taking folic acid for at least 3 months before becoming pregnant will help prevent brain and spinal cord disorders in the baby, and will help reduce the incidence of miscarriage during the first 3 months of pregnancy in mothers who have a history of miscarriage. Folic acid is a key nutrient found in brown rice, whole grains and fresh vegetables.
5. If your home has cats as pets, the mother should have the additional toxoplasmosis IgG blood test, to test for immunity to parasites found in cat feces. During pregnancy, the mother-to-be should also avoid touching cat feces or cleaning cats, as there is a chance of contracting the toxoplasmosis infection, which can cause miscarriage. There is, however, no added pregnancy risk from dogs, other than dog fur possibly triggering some allergies.
6. Exercise: Mothers trying for a baby can exercise as normal until they know they have become pregnant, at which time they should adjust their exercise and behavior according to their doctor’s advice. An excellent form of exercise for pregnant mothers is yoga, as it helps to reduce back pain, neck pain and pain in the shoulder blades.
7. Eating all 5 food groups in the normal amounts and controlling weight and BMI within the standard range will help you have a healthy pregnancy and ensure the baby is not under or overweight.
8. Blood sugar level tests: Mothers-to-be should not have brittle (difficult-to-control, subtype of type 1 Diabetes) diabetes before getting pregnant. Normal sugar levels in the body will help the baby’s development to be healthy and complete.
9. With regard to other underlying conditions and medications taken on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor first on whether or not you are ready to become pregnant, and/or whether you need to adjust or switch your medication to a safer option before becoming pregnant.
M.D., Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 1992. , 1992