The midwife explains to us what are the tests to be carried out before a pregnancy to check and exclude the presence of some serious pathologies for the health of the mother and the baby
Tests to be done before pregnancy
Here, we have decided to undertake this wonderful path that is motherhood. And now? Many of you ask me in the forum:
my partner and I would like to have a baby, but there are checks we need to do, of the tests to be performed before pregnancy?
This article is intended to try to explain what are the tests to do before a conception. I would like to clarify that these exams are not compulsory, pregnancies arrive even without all the exams that I will explain to you. Let’s say that they can be advisable both for those who are looking for a child for the first time, and for those who are a little bit trying but cannot get it but it is too early to be able to access the protocols for sterility (which normally define the one year of unsuccessful research before doing in-depth examinations).
Test to see if you are fertile
Let’s start from the very beginning, that is, from the exams that make us understand something that many take for granted: the fertility. If we talk about physiology, we all know that as far as women are concerned, fertility is determined by the number of eggs, or rather of follicles, present in the ovary that can be fertilized as they mature. We all have a genetically determined number of eggs once “exhausted” which leads to menopause. At each menstrual cycle we “consume” one of these eggs. Now I wouldn’t want to worry anyone, we’re not talking about fifty eggs but many many more, so let’s be calm.
As far as men are concerned, it works more or less in the same way, that is, they have a number of spermatozoa (much higher than our number of eggs) that are running out from both a numerical and a functional point of view. So to understand if you are fertile what tests do you need to do? Investigate whether the physiology is maintained. For women, hormonal tests that ensure the typical female cyclicity can be useful, namely: FSH and LH, the pituitary hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, estrogen and progesterone which fluctuate during the cycle and ensure the “maintenance” of the fertilized egg for the first period of pregnancy.
It may be useful in case of difficulty conceiving or doubts about fertility to perform another blood test called “Anti-Müllerian hormone ” and is associated with the number of follicles remaining before menopause sets in. Finally, always in case of difficulty or doubts there is also an instrumental method other than blood tests: ultrasound monitoring of ovulation. That is, the gynecologist will monitor the maturation of the follicle and finally ovulation with ultrasound scans in subsequent days to understand that it happens. Boys also have checks that can be done. First of all, the simplest exam is it spermiogram. A real count of the number of spermatozoa present in an ejaculate, with a complete analysis of their structure and functionality. In fact it is not only the number of spermatozoa that is decisive, but also that these are functional, therefore that they have all the parts and that they can move.
Free preconception examinations for women
The Ministerial Decree of 10 September 1998 has introduced a protocol of free examinations that the woman (and then we will also see the man) can perform before deciding to become pregnant. The important thing is that these tests are prescribed correctly, indicating that the reason for the execution is conception. Let’s see what they are.
First of all good specialist advice (performed by the obstetrician or gynecologist), in which both lifestyles and the local situation are analyzed. Why the lifestyles? Unbalanced nutrition, low physical activity and very stressful working conditions can reduce the possibility of pregnancy because they strongly influence the delicate hormonal balance that allows us to ovulate and be able to maintain a pregnancy.
It’s important do a pap smear if you do not have a recent one, this is because if it should be altered it is preferable to intervene before a pregnancy is established rather than wait after. The pap smear is used to identify and prevent the onset of cell abnormalities that can develop into a carcinoma, a tumor, in the cervix. This is prevention, a little annoying, but certainly short-lived.
It is important to first evaluate the general condition, and then perform the routine blood tests: complete blood count (including hemoglobin, red and white blood cell counts, leukocyte formula, platelets, hematocrit and mean corpuscular volume). In case of alteration of some characteristics of the shape of the red blood cells, an in-depth study can be done free of charge through the Simmel test and the search for abnormal hemoglobins.
Among the tests that should be done before pregnancy we also find the infectious picture, in particular, the tests relating to two major infectious diseases that can cause very serious damage (from physical malformations to mental retardation) if taken during pregnancy: toxoplasmosis and rubella. As for rubella, most women should be vaccinated but it is a good idea to check. As for toxoplasmosis, on the other hand, it tends to be asymptomatic so it is possible that it was contracted without knowing it. Otherwise it will be necessary to apply some dietary and lifestyle precautions.
- They are not exempt exams, but it is also important to evaluate the complete picture of diseases frequent in the population: therefore the glycemia, to evaluate alterations that can lead to diabetes, total and fractionated cholesterol, triglycerides and last but very important thyroid function (TSH). The thyroid is essential because it regulates the delicate metabolism of our body and a small imbalance is enough for something not to work.
Finally, for both partners it is possible to carry out the determination of the presence of HIV and HCV viruses (hepatitis C), the blood group and markers that identify the presence of syphilis
Pre-pregnancy tests for men