Happy New Year! So, how are those resolutions going? Are they still intact? It is estimated that 72% of New Years Resolutions are health-related.
Keeping on track with your health resolutions begins with you. Developing good health habits means you are more likely to enjoy a longer, healthier, happier life. The more they become a habit the more successfully you will maintain these new lifestyle choices.
Getting recommended health checks means you can work with your healthcare team and make success even more likely. It will improve your chances of preventing health problems throughout your life and ensure your resolve stays strong.
A health check is an examination of your current state of health. It can be likened to a service for the body in the same way we service our cars! You take your car to be checked regularly so you should do so with your body too!
The aim of a health check is to help find, prevent or reduce the effect of potential medical situations. It is always better to avoid illness or disease than to treat it.
Having a regular doctor or practice has several advantages. It will help you to build a relationship with your Doctor. This, in turn, means you are more likely to feel comfortable to talk more openly and honestly. Your doctor will get to know you better and understand your health needs and concerns. Having a regular doctor or practice also means that your medical history stays in one place and is more likely to be kept up to date.
What can a health check involve?
A health check generally involves:
- Updating your medical history
- Examining any your health issues or potential problems
- Performing tests if required
- A follow up of any problems that are found
- Advice and information on how to improve your health.
There are different health checks that are recommended at different stages in your life.
Health checks for preconception & pregnancy
Pregnancy is a huge event and can be very demanding on a woman’s body. The preconception period is usually considered to be the three months prior to pregnancy and is vital to ensure the health of your baby.
This is the perfect time to undergo some health checks. Making life changes at this time can help reduce problems during pregnancy and ensure a swift and timely recovery from the delivery.
Some health checks that you might want to consider before pregnancy include:
This test can detect changes to cells in the cervix before they develop into cervical cancer. The cervical cancer vaccine is part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) since 2007 for high school-aged girls. This does not replace the need for Pap tests. The vaccine does not protect against all cancer-causing types of HPV. Because of the nature of the Pap test, you may prefer to have this done before you are pregnant, or you may be offered a test in early pregnancy.
Regular dental check-ups are important. Poor dental health can affect not only our teeth and gums but also lead to problems like malnutrition and infections. X-rays are not recommended during pregnancy. You may need an X-ray during an oral exam so having a dental check to make sure you catch and fix any problems before you are pregnant is a good idea.
Immunisation status check
Knowing your vaccination status and immunity for common infections when planning a pregnancy is vital. If you don’t have a record of when you last had the necessary immunisations don’t worry. A blood test can show if you are immune to infections that may be harmful to a pregnancy such as rubella, varicella (chickenpox) and influenza.
General health and blood tests
Assessing your overall health before you plan to conceive is important. It can uncover problems you need to resolve before becoming pregnant. You may need blood tests to check for thyroid function, blood glucose levels or for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You may also need a full blood count to check your iron and folate levels. Your doctor can help you determine what checks are suitable for you.
Several different health checks may be available to you during pregnancy. These include tests for abdominal palpitations and ultrasounds. Maternal serum screening test (MSS) and amniocentesis are others. Check with your doctor or gynaecologist on which tests you might need.
We wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy!