Planning for pregnancy
We understand that trying for a baby is exciting and stressful. Preparing yourself both physically and emotionally in advance gives you the best chance for a smooth pregnancy, a healthy baby and contributes to a positive experience.
There is much to ask of oneself in preparing for pregnancy. More than you may have imagined. That is why Monash IVF is here to inform and educate you so you can get started sooner.
Pre-conception Health Screening
Before beginning on your path to pregnancy, we suggest seeing your general practitioner and or gynaecologist for a health check-up and sharing your intentions about trying for a baby. Your health check-up should include:
- An up-to-date pap smear
- A breast examination
- Blood pressure
- Blood tests
- Weight screening
- Lifestyle advice
You and your partner’s health are an integral part of the pregnancy equation, so we recommend that both of you have a health check and are tested for:
- Immunity to rubella and chicken pox – some infectious diseases can affect your baby’s development.
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs can negatively affect your fertility. Ensuring that you don’t have STIs also means you’re less likely to pass on the infection to your partner or to your baby.
Fertility Health Check
We understand that gaining knowledge about your fertility may be something you never thought about until you started thinking about trying to conceive. At Monash IVF we recommend taking a proactive step in your fertility and putting your path to parenthood in first gear with an appointment with a fertility specialist for a fertility health check.
What kind of assessment and tests will be done during my fertility health check?
The fertility specialist will spend some time getting to know you, discussing your medical history, and taking stock of your individual circumstance. This is a good time for you, as well, to assess the fertility specialist to determine the type of patient-doctor relationship you prefer for your fertility journey. We encourage you to prepare questions ahead of time to ask the specialist.
For women, the fertility specialist will run tests that may include:
- Female Hormones: a blood test on day two-five of your menses cycle to assess your fertility. This blood test is on the look for data about your hormones and will measure your hormone levels, for instance, check your levels of Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), the Luteinizing Hormone (LH), your Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and the Prolactin
- Immunity: a comprehensive antenatal blood test. This test measures your blood group, full blood count and immunity to rubella (German measles) and varicella (chickenpox). It also screens for thalassemia and STIs including VDRL (syphilis), HIV, Hep B and Hep C
- Cervical area: an up-to-date cervical screening test
- Preconception genetic carrier screening
- Ovarian reserve: an AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) blood test to measure your ovarian reserve
- Pelvic area: a pelvic ultrasound (in the early follicular stage of your cycle)
- – for more complex cases, a patient may require a specialised pelvic ultrasound – such as a HyCoSy (used to examine the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs) or a Sonohysterogram (a study of the uterus)
For men, these tests may include:
- Male Hormones: a blood test to assess male hormones
- STI screening: a blood test to screen for STIs including HIV, Hep C and Hep B
- Preconception genetic carrier screening
- Semen analysis to check for sperm quality and possible infections
- – in the case of abnormal semen results – such as low sperm count, poor motility (movement) and poor morphology (shape) – some men will need to have two semen analyses completed
Download our top tips
The ‘Proactive You’
Part of your consultation with a fertility specialist will include outlining areas of your lifestyle you can take charge of to help boost your fertility health in preparing for pregnancy. Our team of experts will provide you the practical context and relationship between leading a healthy and balanced lifestyle and pregnancy.
To assist you in the process, get our guide – Top Tips to Boosting your Fertility and learn about the essentials including:
- Healthy diet
- Your weight
- Understanding your weight
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Reduce caffeine