Pre-pregnancy screening in Singapore (Antenatal Packages)

What is pre-pregnancy health, and why is it important?

Pre-pregnancy health is your health before pregnancy. Taking care of yourself before conceiving is important as it increases your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby. Having good pre-pregnancy health can also help prevent pregnancy complications in the event you do get pregnant. 

If you are thinking of getting pregnant, we advise you to start focusing on your health at least 3 months before trying to conceive and to go for a pre-pregnancy checkup. 

A pre-pregnancy checkup is a medical checkup that helps your provider make sure you are healthy and ready to have a baby. The checkup includes screening for health conditions, making sure your vaccinations are up to date and identifying health conditions that run in you or your partner’s family. 

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How can I prepare for pregnancy in Singapore? 

Here are some important lifestyle changes to make to prepare for pregnancy in Singapore. 

Maintain a healthy BMI

Aim for a body mass index (BMI) or 30 and below. Overweight and obese women have more difficulty getting pregnancy and also have more complications in pregnancy, such as miscarriages, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, blood clots in pregnancy etc. Moderate exercise and a healthy diet is useful for maintaining a healthy weight.

Quit smoking and drinking alcohol

This can harm your baby and you in both the short- and long-term; the greater the exposure, the higher the risk. Health problems include miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, breathing problems in early life and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Ideally, stop drinking alcohol and smoking before you get pregnant.

Create a non-toxic environment for yourself

Stay away from cat litter, chemicals (e.g. pesticides), radiation and minimize cosmetic treatments (e.g. hair coloring etc). Do practice relaxation techniques as good mental health is conducive to conception and pregnancy.

Monitor your medical conditions and medications

If you have a long-term condition and/or are taking prescribed medicines, talk to your doctor to ensure your condition(s) is well-controlled, that it is safe for you to plan for pregnancy, and your medications are safe to take when you are pregnant. Do consider getting tested for thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder that is common amongst Asians which can cause severe anemia (low blood counts) if you and your partner are carriers.

Stop contraception

Stop all contraceptive pills and patches at least 3 months before trying for a baby. You should resume regular ovulation and your menstrual cycle immediately, but some women may take a few months. Track your ovulation period as having sex during ovulation increases your chances of pregnancy. 

Take prenatal supplements

These include folic acid supplements. Take folic acid supplements from the time you start planning to become pregnant to the first 3 months of pregnancy. This reduces the risk of the baby having spinal cord problems (e.g. spina bifida). If you get pregnant unexpectedly, start taking folic acid until 12 weeks of pregnancy. The usual dose is 5mg a day. You may need a higher dose if:

  • You have had a previous pregnancy affected by spina bifida
  • There is a family history of spinal cord defect
  • You are on medications for epilepsy
  • You are obese (BMI 30 or more)
  • You have medical problems such as diabetes or sickle cell anaemia
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How long will I take to get pregnant?

Many factors are involved, including your age, general health, reproductive health, and how often you have sex. 8 out of 10 couples will get pregnant within a year if they have unprotected regular sex (every 2 to 3 days throughout the month). Women who are above 35 years old and those who have gynaecological issues e.g. endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a much lower fertility and should seek help if not pregnant within 6 months of trying.

If you have infertility or are experiencing trouble getting pregnant, our fertility specialists can help.

Will vitamins help improve fertility and my chances of having a healthy pregnancy?

Although research has yet to uncover the full extent of how vitamins can help improve your fertility and pregnancy, there has been an increasing number of studies linking the two. Here are some of the most promising vitamins for pre-pregnancy/fertility:

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)

This is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands that is converted to androgens (e.g. testosterone). It is important for energy, sexual function and reproduction. Certain drugs like insulin or steroids can cause DHEA levels to be low. In women, DHEA levels begin to decrease from their mid 20s.

Research has shown that low androgen levels are not good for a woman’s fertility as eggs that develop in a higher androgen environment have better quality. There is continuing research looking into DHEA for women with low ovarian reserve.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

This is a supplement that is supposed to improve both male and female fertility. It acts as an antioxidant that decreases free radical damage on reproductive health. CoQ10 levels decrease with age and this causes lower efficiency on processes such as fertilization and embryo development. This in turn results in higher numbers of genetically abnormal embryos.

Studies have shown improved sperm count, motility and morphology in men taking CoQ10 – although this did not result in higher pregnancy rates. The link between CoQ10 and female fertility (particularly older women) is yet to be established.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, made by our body after being exposed to sunshine without sunscreen. It has increasingly been shown to have an impact on a woman’s fertility. Up to 40% women may be deficient in this vitamin. Food sources include fortified milk, butter and cold water deep-sea fishes, e.g. salmon and sardines.

Vitamins for pregnancy

How long after your first child should you have another?

Ideally, wait 12-18 months after giving birth before getting pregnant again. Shorter gaps between pregnancy increase the risk of premature birth and small babies, and also increases the chance of serious complications for the mother. However, this has to be balanced against your previous mode of delivery (normal vaginal delivery versus caesarean section) and the impact of your age on fertility – do check with your doctor.

How much does it cost to deliver a baby in Singapore (Antenatal packages)? 

At ACRM, we recognise that every pregnancy is precious and deserves the best nurturing to ensure a healthy mother and child. The ACRM antenatal packages showcase our commitment to guiding and supporting you and your partner every step of the way for a smooth and memorable pregnancy journey from conception to childbirth and beyond.

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