18 May 2022 | Reproductive Health
Preconception planning: health factors to consider
Across the developed world, more and more people are postponing parenthood for a variety of reasons. More effective contraception, increase of women’s participation in the workforce, value changes, economic uncertainty, housing conditions - the list goes on. For many who delay parenthood to their late thirties, the rush to have children can be tremendously stressful, particularly when conception or pregnancy does not go as easily as planned.
Given that the traditional health system doesn’t do a great job at preventative health in general, it also doesn’t do a great job at preconception health checkups. Most health insurance plans do not cover preconception checkups for anything other than basic medical history and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases which could affect pregnancy.
Prenuvo can help by providing important information about 4 potential pregnancy complications that otherwise might take time to be uncovered by the health system.
First, a screening can confirm the presence of fibroids in the uterus. Fibroids are benign growths that occasionally can, due to their placement or size, interfere with implantation (by blocking the fallopian tubes), degrade the gestational environment (by changing the shape of the uterus) or interfere with the ability to give birth naturally (by blocking the cervix). Knowledge of the existence of fibroids is important information in potentially starting a family earlier or in seeking surgical treatment.
Second, a screening can detect the presence of endometriosis - a condition whereby the same kind of cells that line the uterus (endometrial cells) are present outside of the uterus, usually in the pelvis. About 1/3 of women with this condition have trouble with conception, possibly due to scarring blocking the release of the egg from the ovary. In some cases, menstrual blood from these cells can be detected collecting outside of the uterus by MRI.
Third, a screening can look for evidence of adenomyosis. The likelihood of this condition, characterized by endometrial tissue extending deep into the walls of the uterus, increases with maternal age. Adenomyosis can be associated with pregnancy complications including spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and fetal growth restriction. Adenomyosis can be suspected in females with painful menstrual cycles.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Fourth, a screening can identify risk of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance. This can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility and can be associated with other non-pregnancy related issues such as weight gain, increased body hair and insulin resistance.
It’s a lot to take in and understandably, might sound a little scary. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the vast majority of people can conceive and carry children - even those who have these conditions. At Prenuvo, we believe that being proactive about your health and gaining invaluable information on your body can have a positively transformative impact on your life. With proper knowledge, you can make more informed decisions for the future you want to build for yourself.
For any questions about scanning with fertility in mind, feel free to contact us and our friendly team will be able to help.