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Dr Kelly Loi of HEALTH & FERTILITY CENTRE FOR WOMEN recommends regular checkups to ensure you enjoy risk-free reproductive health both pre and post pregnancy.
As a working woman, wife, friend, daughter and mother, today's modern woman is required to juggle multiple roles. You may be accustomed to planning every stage of your life and managing your time well. But you are not Superwoman and you may neglect some areas of your life, such as your reproductive health, unintentionally.
Fertility declines with age. Studies indicate the probability of conception within one month falls from 25 percent in women in their early 20s to just 8 percent by the time they reach their late 30s. Similarly, the probability of conception within a year falls from 97 percent in women in their early 20s, to 65 percent in women in their late 30s. If you see children in your future, it's important to start planning for pregnancy as early as possible.
First, address any health issues by undergoing a preconception health screening. This usually involves a blood test, which tests for antibodies against rubella. If you're found to lack immunity, vaccination is advisable as a rubella infection during pregnancy can cause congenital defects.
If you've been trying to conceive for more than one year without success its time to seek professional help. If you're above 35 years and have fertility issues such as irregular or painful menstrual cycles, medical help should be sought even earlier. The success rate of falling pregnant continues to decline with age, even with assisted reproductive techniques such as Superovulation Intrauterine Insemination (SO IUI), or In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF).
Pregnancy risks, such as miscarriage and chromosomal anomalies including Downs Syndrome, also increase with age. Other potential problems include developing gestational diabetes or hypertension. While all pregnant women should attend regular antenatal health checks, this is increasingly more important with age.
Early prenatal screening for chromosomal anomalies can be performed between 11 and 14 weeks. This takes the form of an ultrasound to measure the fluid space behind the baby's neck, also called nuchal translucency, and a special blood test. Depending on the final risk assessment, you may be offered a diagnostic test such as a placenta biopsy (chorionic villus sampling) or testing of the amniotic fluid around the baby (amniocentesis).
Following delivery the demands of motherhood may seem overwhelming, but it's important to continue regular health screening to ensure an optimum state of health at all times. At Health & Fertility Centre for Women, a comprehensive range of health screening packages are offered, including preconception and fertility screening and health screenings designed to suit the needs of every woman of any age group at different stages of life with varying risk profiles.F
Dr Kelly Loi
Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist