A pregnant woman and a man looking at an ultrasound.

What preconception tests might I need?

Talking to your health care provider about your health history and lifestyle habits is important. This information may prompt your health care provider to give you certain tests to find out if you have problems that could harm you or your fetus.

Your health care provider may test you for the following:

A blood test can determine whether you are vaccinated against rubella (also called German measles). Getting rubella while you are pregnant can harm the fetus. You should be vaccinated against rubella before you get pregnant.1

STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV can make it hard for you to get pregnant and can also harm you and your infant. HIV can be passed from a woman to her infant during pregnancy or delivery. This risk is less than 2% if certain HIV medications are taken during pregnancy.2 Learn more about infections that can affect your pregnancy.

Depending on your or your partner's health history, your health care provider may refer you to a genetic counselor to help you determine if you are at an increased risk for passing on a genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis, Fragile X syndrome, or sickle cell disease, You can request preconception carrier screening, which involves a sample of blood or saliva.3 Find a genetic counselor External Web Site Policy through the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Your doctor may want to perform other tests depending on your risk for other problems such as anemia (a condition that causes a low red blood cell count1) or hepatitis (a liver infection that can be passed on to your infant4).

Citations

  1. Lu, M. C. (2007). Recommendations for preconception care. American Family Physician, 76, 397–400.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). HIV among pregnant women, infants, and children. Retrieved January 5, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/pregnantwomen/index.html
  3. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2012). Preconception carrier screening. Retrieved May 3, 2013, from http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq179.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130422T1221088806 External Web Site Policy (PDF – 313 KB)
  4. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. (2012). What I need to know about hepatitis C. Retrieved June 12, 2012, from http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepc_ez

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