Pregnancy series: Preconception hospital visit

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Hospital visit is one of the crucial steps to take before pregnancy to ensure optimal care.Talking about care before pregnancy in Nigerian locality is like talking about pizza in the village, but no matter how it sounds, it’s important for everyone to know that preparing for pregnancy can give the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Pregnancy should not be an incidental finding for anyone, it should be wanted, planned and prepared for, and you can avoid unwanted pregnancy today by embracing a form of family planning method.

Hospital visit before pregnancy is not the norm in African society but it is very effective, a lot can be done initially before pregnancy. Your doctor will review your personal and family medical history should in case there is any condition worth paying attention to, your present health for any ailment that may affect pregnancy outcome, and any medications or supplements you’re taking. Certain medications and supplements are unsafe during pregnancy, and some may need to be switched before you even try to conceive.

Your doctor will likely discuss diet, weight, exercise, and any unhealthy habits you may have (such as smoking, drinking, and taking drugs); recommend a multivitamin; make sure you’re up to date on your immunizations and answer any question you have.

 In addition, you may be referred to a specialist if you have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, that need to be controlled before you get pregnant.

If it’s been at least a year since you had a checkup, you can also expect to have a pelvic exam and a Pap smear, and to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases if you’re at risk.

Certain conditions can make pregnancy more difficult. It’s especially important to get pre-pregnancy care if you:

  • have high blood pressure, or heart or kidney disease
  • have other chronic conditions, like diabetes, lupus, or HIV/AIDS
  • have a history of miscarriages, stillbirths, or premature births
  • know you’re at risk of having a child with birth defects or a genetic disorder
  • have a sexually transmitted infection
  • are underweight or overweight
  • are older than 35

Imagine how much this simple step is costing the society, some of Nigeria’s young mothers are not aware of their chronic illness for example high blood pressure, until during antenatal when their blood pressure would have gone up even before going far in pregnancy.

Take good care of yourself before giving up your totality for others.

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About Author

Dr. Victoria Adepoju is a graduate of the College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She also holds a diploma in Community Health from the School of Hygiene Eleyele Ibadan, Nigeria. Currently with the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, she provides special insights into topical issues as they affect various stakeholders in the health sector with special emphasis on day-to-day operations of the various units in the hospital. She has vast experience reporting health and continues to cover major events for HealthNewsNG.com

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