What Medical Conditions Should You Treat Before Pregnancy?

Are you thinking about getting a baby shortly? Congratulations on your decision to try parenthood. Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the most crucial moments in the life of both the mother and the child. Medical practitioners and caregivers emphasize on proper diet and healthcare after a woman has realized that she is pregnant. Unfortunately, most of these programs do not cover the health of the mother before the pregnancy as comprehensively as they should. Before trying to get pregnant, you should get a comprehensive medical checkup to determine if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions which could negatively affect you and your child. Here are some of the medical conditions which you must treat before pregnancy.

Any Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Before you try to get pregnant, you and your partner should get tested for any sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the STDs which are still common in the country include:

  • HIV
  • HPV
  • Hepatitis
  • Syphilis

These are the four STDs which are known to complicate pregnancies the most and. If you are HIV positive and get pregnant without having your CD4 count taken and getting the right ART therapy, you risk passing the virus on to the unborn child. Syphilis in the mother can lead to complications such as bone damage, jaundice, anemia and even blindness to the unborn fetus. Hepatitis C can be transferred to the unborn child during childbirth, leading to endless health problems. It is, therefore, best to get a screening for all STDs to avoid harming the unborn child.

Diabetes

Diabetes results from the body’s inability to regulate the sugar and starch found in diet. When one has diabetes, their body makes either too much insulin, too little insulin, or is unable to convert sugar into fat, leading to excess sugar in the bloodstream. Women who did not have diabetes sometimes develop gestational diabetes and those that did not have their condition under control are at a greater risk of it getting worse. When diabetes is unchecked, it can lead to conditions like preeclampsia in the third trimester of pregnancy. The condition can lead to stillbirths or even the loss of both mother and child. Blood sugar can be controlled using artificial insulin and a modified diet containing fewer simple carbohydrates.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is located above the collarbone. It is the organ of the body whose responsibility is making hormones. Hormones control all of the body’s functions. When the thyroid is not working properly, you are likely to have complications such as being overweight, underweight, irregular heart rate and many other issues. Thyroid issues during pregnancy can lead to serious complications such as premature birth of the baby, severe increase in blood pressure during the third trimester, miscarriages and very low birth weight. Any pre-existing problems with the thyroid gland should, therefore, be treated before a woman tries to conceive.

Phenylketonuria

This is a medical condition which makes it difficult for the body to metabolize phenylannanine, leading to brain and nerve damages. Mothers with untreated phenylketonuria are adviced not to try and get pregnant because the condition can have very adverse effects on the health of the unborn fetus. These complications include mental retardation, poor head development (microcephaly), heart problems and other developmental complications. Medical and dietary counselling is very important to mothers that have phenylketonuria. With the right medical guidance, it is possible to get pregnant and deliver a healthy child.

In addition to medical conditions, there are certain lifestyle behaviors which are likely to have a very negative effect on the outcome of a pregnancy. These include:

SmokingAlcoholismDrug abuseStressful and violent environments

Mothers who are addicted to drugs like heroin and meth give birth to children who need meth or heroin to survive. Similarly, mothers who abuse alcohol give birth to underweight babies and experience pre-term births. It is advisable to go into a rehab and detox program before trying to get pregnant.

These are a few of the health conditions which mothers should have addressed before trying to get pregnant. It is crucial to understand that the outcome of pregnancy depends on how healthy the mother was before conception and during pregnancy. Finally, mothers should change their diet and include supplements such as folic acid to their diet before getting pregnant.

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