What are the important steps to follow to prepare for pregnancy?
In the majority of cases, a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet of fibre, protein and carbohydrates will suffice. It is also important to make sure you have a sufficient intake of folic acid. Folic acid is recommended as a dietary supplement at the design conception.
A medical consultation is not necessary, but your doctor can certainly prescribe the examinations necessary for ruling out problems or conditions which may affect the pregnancy, such as diabetes or issues relating to blood pressure.
What is folic acid and why should I take it if I want to have a baby?
Whether it is during the periconception period or during the pregnancy itself, taking folic acid plays an important role in your baby’s development as it reduces the risk of a neural tube defect – a type of malformation of the nervous system.
What should I do in terms of vaccinations?
Try to keep up to date with all of your vaccinations, but don’t forget that some vaccinations cannot be administered during pregnancy. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information. Each case is different and we take the time to give you a clear answer. Both the whooping cough vaccination (Bustrix ®) and the flu vaccination are recommended.
I have been hearing about the Zika virus. What is it?
According to SSGO expert ruling N°46, this virus from the Flavivirus genus is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and may also be transmitted sexually. Infection is diagnosed with a blood test and urine test.
The virus is present in countries in Central and South America and the West Indies, as well as Cape Verde, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. In Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, the Maldives, the Philippines, the Salomon Islands, etc. You can check the regions in which the virus has spread on the following site: http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html.
It should be noted that we consider the possibility of virus exposure:
- If you have spent time in a region of active virus transmission
- If you have had sexual contact with a man who has spent time in such a region over the course of the last 6 months, or if you have had sexual contact with a man with a confirmed infection of the Zika virus.
What are the recommendations for those faced with the virus?
1.If you are planning to become or already are pregnant, avoid travelling to endemic areas.
2.If you or your partner has spent time in an endemic area and you are planning to become pregnant, it is recommended that you wait three months if there is no infection, and six months in case of symptomatic infection. You should complete a laboratory analysis 12 weeks after returning from an endemic area.
3.If you are pregnant and you have spent time in an endemic area before or during your pregnancy, you should complete a laboratory analysis including a blood test and ultrasound.
4.If you are pregnant and your partner has spent time in an endemic area, use protection during sexual intercourse until the end of your pregnancy.
I would like to become pregnant. Which foods are recommended?
In general, as long as you maintain a balanced diet, there is no reason to be concerned about dietary deficiencies. Nevertheless, certain studies have shown that lipid analyses, trace elements and magnesium supplements can help during the periconception period.
What is the purpose of the 1st trimester prenatal screening?
The 1st trimester prenatal screening forms part of the trisomy screening (13, 18, 21) and may be carried out between the 11th week + 0 days and 13th week + 6 days. It is important to remember that anomalies are relatively rare. Only one pregnancy in 500 is affected by trisomy 21 for example.
This screening looks at the combined risk factors stemming from the patient’s age, the nuchal translucency of the baby and the blood rate of two hormones in samples taken from the mother: HCG and PAPP-A. Ultrasounds are used to study a variety of organs such as the head, the limbs, the abdomen, the kidneys, the heart and detect any eventual morphological anomalies which may or may not be linked to chromosomic abnormalities (holoprosencephaly, cardiac defects, gastroschisis).
If the serum markers show abnormal values, this may be correlated to an increased risk of trisomy. If the risk calculated is low, the origin of this variation may be found elsewhere.
An ultrasound at this point also makes it possible to identify chorionicity ( identical or non-identical twins).
L’échographie à ce terme permet aussi dans les cas de grossesse gémellaires de définir la chorionicité (vrai ou fau jumeaux)
What is the purpose of the 2nd trimester prenatal screening?
The 2nd trimester prenatal screening is carried out between 14 and 21 weeks, and allows for the detection of neural tube defects (Spina Bifida, exencephaly) based on an Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test.
If the 1st trimester prenatal screening has not yet been carried out, it can be made up for at this point with a screening for trisomy 21 based on the levels of AFP, oestriol or beta-HCG in the mother’s blood sample.
What is the purpose of the 2nd trimester morphology ultrasound?
This ultrasound is ideally completed between the 21st and 24th weeks of pregnancy. During this exam each organ is studied in detail and it’s growth monitored. The placenta and umbilical cord are also studied. This scan allows for the detection of morphological abnormalities (cleft lip, cardiac defects, etc.). The apparatus used in our unit for carrying out medically requested 3D and 4D ultrasounds, this enables to refine the diagnosing. If conditions allow, a short time during the consultation may be dedicated to carrying out an optional 3D ultrasound, during which you will have the pleasure to di your baby move, smile or suck its thumb.
Can we have diabetes while pregnant?
It is to be noted that pregnancy related diabetes may arise in a non-diabetic patient. This is why an oral glucose tolerance test is arranged between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. During this test, we will measure the blood sugar levels before, one hour after and two hours after the oral administration of 75g of glucose. The majority of the time, this type of diabetes can be resolved with a specific diet, although sometimes a transitional period of insulin therapy may be necessary. This form of diabetes very often disappears after pregnancy.