“Good Morning Doc! Gusto na sana naming magka-baby. Ano po ang gagawin namin?”
This is a frequently asked question at the clinic by couples who want to start a family.
The right time to prepare for pregnancy is 6-9 months before you actually want to have a baby. There are several steps to do and observe before you and your partner can be fully prepared to have a healthy, perfect little bundle of joy.
First step is do a complete blood count. Of course, it is good to know if you have anemia, leukemia or some blood-related disease which should be addressed beforehand. More importantly, for the purpose of pregnancy, you must find out if you and your partner have incompatible blood types. Incompatibility may cause problems for the baby later on. Some complications like jaundice or Rh- incompatibility can occur especially if you have inter-racial marriages. The price of a CBC with blood typing at High Precision Laboratory is P350 while in Makati Medical Center it is P702.
Next step is to complete vaccinations. There are so many congenital defects like blindness and deafness that could have been prevented if the mother was vaccinated before pregnancy. If you cannot recall whether you were vaccinated as a child, or whether you missed your booster shot, it is not harmful to get the complete course just to be sure that your baby is fully protected.
The recommended vaccines are: Diptheria-Pertussis-Tetanus (DPT) x 1 dose P1,600 each; Hepatitis A/B x 3 doses P2,700 each; Human Papilloma Virus x 3 doses P2,500-3,500 each; German Measles x 1 dose P1,200 each; Chicken Pox x 2 doses P2,100 each and Flu vaccine x 1 dose P600. (prices may vary per clinic)
A pap smear and a transvaginal ultrasound may be done for women who already had previous sexual activity. These cannot be done to women who are still virgins. A pap smear may cost P700-1,000 in the clinic. A transvaginal ultrasound at Asian Hospital is P2,800, in Makati Medical Center it costs P2,130 and at High Precision Laboratory it is P1,395.
Finally, it is imperative to start living a healthy lifestyle. Avoid smoking. Lessen coffee and alcohol intake. And start taking Folic Acid capsules. Everything you eat and drink during the last 3 months before you get pregnant can affect your baby not only during his or her development inside the uterus, but also their performance in school and diseases they may have as a child and adult later in life.