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February 2004 - What You Should Do Before You Make A Baby?

There are a number of things you should do prior to pregnancy. Some are well known, others less. It is always advisable to consult with your OB/GYN ( Gynecologist ) in addition to anythingI recommend, or you may read elsewhere.

1. TAY ZACHS You or your partner must have a blood test for this congenital disease ( If you are an Ashkenazi Jew ; or Morrocan ).If the test is negative; it is not necessary for your partner to do the test. The test is done for free, at Tel Hashomer Hospital. The Ministry of Health Web site has more details.

2. Other GENETIC TESTS are available; it is up to you to decide if you want to do them. There are seven tests currently available for the general public. Further tests are done only after meeting a Doctor
specializing in genetic counseling.The tests are done privately, Kupat Holim will pay up to about 50%, your cost is about 700 NIShekel. Please check with your Kupat Holim. Additional details available at the
Ministry of Health site

3. Women planning pregnancy should do BLOOD TESTS for VIRUSES prior to pregnancy, or at the very beginning of pregnancy. There are illnesses that are harmful to the embryo; so it is important to know your immune status before pregnancy. These illnesses are called: TORCHS ( short for Toxoplasma; Rubella; CMV; Herpes and Syphilis ). General blood tests are a good idea too.

4. It is highly recommended to take a MULTIVITAMIN including FOLIC ACID starting two months before pregnancy. It makes sense to continue throughout the pregnancy and while breast-feeding. This has been found very useful to cut the risk of "neural tube defects" ( a defect in the baby's development ). Do not take Folic Acid alone. The study was done with a Multivitamin and with Folic Acid, so we might as well get full advantage of the supplement.Kupat Holim will pay 50% for Materna or Prenatal vitamins.

5. It is best to start pregnancy as healthy and fit as you can, so.... Do exercise, try to be at a good weight; eat healthy foods, and of course: STOP SMOKING ; don't drink Alcohol and avoid harmful health habits.As usual - if you have any questions - do not hesitate to contact me!

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