Preconception Care Part 3: Things You Need to Be Aware of Before Pregnancy

Chest Pain Fertility and Pregnancy

In the previous article, we introduced “II. Evaluation and improvement of chronic diseases” (F. Diabetes mellitus G. Thyroid dysfunction H. Hypertension I. Bronchial asthma J. Kidney disease K. Collagen disease/antiphospholipid antibody syndrome L. Medications).

And this article will be the last one for the list of preconception care and we will talk about III. Periodic health checkup (M. Gynecology and cervical cancer N. Breast check O. Viral infections), IV. Evaluation and improvement of lifestyle (P. Basal body temperature chart Q. Mind R. Exercise S. Partner) and V. Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake (T. Tobacco U. Alcohol)

Periodic Health Checkup

M. Gynecology and cervical cancer

The most common sexually transmitted disease is Chlamydia trachomatis infection. In women, it causes oviducts and cervicitis and is also known to cause infertility. Since there are few symptoms, the infection can spread to partners without their knowledge.

Most cervical cancers are caused by an infection called human papillomavirus (HPV), which is often transmitted through sexual intercourse, and the majority of women who have sex with men will be infected at least once in their lifetime.

Most HPV infections are eliminated spontaneously by the immune system, but there are some cases where the virus does not heal spontaneously but progresses to cervical cancer over several years through precancerous lesions called dysplasia. Cervical cancer is one of the most frequently detected cancers during pregnancy. Get screened for cervical cancer before you get pregnant.

N. Breast Check

For early detection of breast cancer, make it a habit to do a monthly self-check. Check the shape of your breasts in the mirror around the fourth or fifth day after the end of menstruation to see if there are any dimples or tugs.

It is also important to feel for lumps with your own hands. If you use hands that have been lathered with soap in the bath, it will make them slippery and easier to see. In addition to self-checking, it is also important to have regular breast cancer checkups. Especially for those in their late 30s to late 40s, when the number of people who get breast cancer increases, it is recommended to have a checkup once every two years.

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, it is said that breast lumps are more difficult to find because of the increase in breast size. As a result, breast cancer may be detected in a more advanced stage. It is advisable to have a breast cancer screening once before pregnancy.

O. Viral infections

Mother-to-child infection refers to the transmission of some microorganism (bacteria, virus, etc.) from the mother to the baby, and when the baby is infected in the womb, it is called in utero infection. Rubella virus is one of the in utero infections that you should be aware of during pregnancy.

If a mother with inadequate immunity to the rubella virus becomes infected in the early stages of pregnancy, her baby may also become infected and be born with symptoms such as deafness, heart disease, cataracts, and delayed physical and mental development. There is no effective way to prevent the baby from being infected during pregnancy, and there is no established treatment for post-infection.

There are some precautions to be taken when vaccinating against rubella, such as the contraindication of live vaccination during pregnancy and the need for contraception for two months after vaccination. Take a rubella antibody test before pregnancy, and if you are not immune, get vaccinated. It is also advisable to have family members or partners who live with you take the antibody test as well.

IV. Evaluation and improvement of lifestyle

P. Basal body temperature chart

Basal body temperature indicates the body temperature at the time of waking up when there are the fewest factors that cause the body temperature to fluctuate. When a woman wakes up in the morning, she places a gynecological thermometer under her tongue and measures it with her mouth closed while still in bed.

A woman’s body temperature changes periodically under the influence of hormones. After ovulation, progesterone from the corpus luteum acts on the hypothalamus to regulate body temperature, causing the basal body temperature to rise by 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius.

Graphing your basal body temperature is very important, as this change in temperature will give you an idea of whether or not you are ovulating and the date of ovulation. If you are thinking of getting pregnant, it is recommended that you try to keep a basal body temperature.

 Q. Mind

Today’s busy people tend to accumulate stress without even knowing it. Stress can have a negative impact on your fertility. Make time for moderate exercise and hobbies to change your mood. Taking a few minutes a day to relax, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing is also recommended to reduce stress and control your emotions. 

 R. Exercise

Try to get moderate exercise on a daily basis in order to improve blood flow. As the circulation of blood throughout the body improves through exercise, the stagnation of blood flow in the ovaries will also be relieved. As a guideline for moderate exercise, it is a good idea to keep in mind that your heart rate should increase.

Squats and brisk walking are recommended, especially since there are many large muscles in the lower body. In your daily life, it is a good idea to use the stairs as much as possible, wipe the floor with household chores, and move your heels up and down while brushing your teeth to increase blood flow by the way you move your body without changing your normal routine.

 S. Partner

Just like women, it is important for partners to have basic tests such as blood tests and rubella antibody tests to know if both men and women are ready to get pregnant. Lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as smoking cessation, can help partners prepare at the same time.

 T. Quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake

U. Tobacco

Cigarette smoke contains nicotine, nitric oxide, cyanide, lead, etc., which are vasoconstrictive as well as fetotoxic. Smoking during pregnancy is known to delay the growth of the baby. It has also been reported to increase abnormalities such as miscarriage, premature birth, placenta previa, and premature placental abruption.

Smoking is also known to be a cause of infertility in both men and women. If you are thinking of getting pregnant, stop smoking. Exposure to your partner’s cigarette smoke (passive smoking) can also affect the baby. Ask your partner to quit smoking as well.

V. Alcohol

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy, like tobacco, can affect the baby. There have been reports of malformations such as facial deformities and microcephaly, growth disorders such as short stature and low body weight, central nervous system disorders such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, miscarriage, and stillbirth. The safe amount of alcohol to consume during pregnancy has not been established. If you are thinking of getting pregnant, you should refrain from drinking alcohol.

Conclusion

If you want to have a baby, you may better check these lists before trying to get pregnant. Some diseases can be prevented with checkups and awareness before pregnancy. 

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