Pregnancy planning is the preparation for pregnancy and the planning can be done by discussing with the doctor well before pregnancy. The planning process enables to create a healthy environment for the foetus, prevents birth defects and other pregnancy related problems. It also makes sure that to be pregnant women do not have any illness or pre-existing diseases which may affect the pregnancy. Although, many women have normal pregnancies, pre-planning improves the chances of smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Some of the issues addressed by obstetricians in pregnancy planning include:
- Medical conditions: A thorough medical examination before pregnancy helps in diagnosing the medical conditions that may affect the mother and the baby such as diabetes, high blood pressure, anaemia, kidney disorders, thyroid diseases, and heart problems. Physician may be advised certain measures to control them. Certain medications can cause harm to mother and the baby, therefore, consulting the doctor before taking them is essential.
- Infections and vaccinations: During pregnancy, the mother will be more susceptible to infections which may cause serious birth defects or illness in the baby. Tests are done to determine immunity against diseases such as measles and chicken pox. If the expecting mother lacks antibodies against these diseases, then the doctor will advise to get vaccination before pregnancy.
- Immunization: If the mother is a carrier of hepatitis-B virus, blood tests will be done to identify the virus and the child will be vaccinated at birth. Vaccination protects the foetus from hepatitis-B infections.
- Medications: Women who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) will be advised to take certain medications during pregnancy to decrease the risk of foetus getting infected with HIV.
- Hereditary disorders: In women with a family history of hereditary disorders such as haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, and thalassemia, the chances of child developing these conditions is more. Therefore before planning for pregnancy doctor may suggest both mother and father to undergo certain tests to identify such diseases.
- Diet: Practicing healthy diet is very important. Doctor may suggest changes in diet to make pregnancy effective. It includes intake of vitamins, proteins, and folic acid supplements. Doctor may also advise to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs as they may affect the baby in many ways.