Endoscopy and Colonoscopy – When trying to get pregnant becomes a pain in the ass

Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure

The decision had been made. We were going to have a baby. We would do our thing, get pregnant and voila baby is born nine months later right? That is until we faced our first roadblock. My blood results were back and I was low in Vitamin D and Iron. So What? You may be thinking, but apparently a normal, healthy 32-year-old with a healthy diet containing red meat isn’t normally this low in iron and again a healthy 32-year-old who spends lots of time outdoors at work and on the weekends apparently shouldn’t be this low in Vitamin D.

The dark and scary news is that this could mean I have stomach problems that could dramatically increase my risk of things like stomach cancer down track if we don’t sort it out, so its time to investigate further and that means an endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure for me, also known as a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. I head straight to see a gastroenterologist and book in my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure as soon as possible so we can get straight back to our goal of trying for a baby.

What is an Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure?

Endoscopy and Colonoscopy Procedure 1

An endoscopy procedure also known as a gastroscopy is a test that allows doctors to look at your stomach and part of your small intestine via your oesophagus. To say I was a little freaked out about a tube being put down my throat was an understatement but rest assured you are sedated and if your lucky like me knocked out altogether so you don’t remember a thing. A colonoscopy procedure looks at your colon aka large intestine and you guessed it, it enters via the other end – your anus.

Endoscopy Cost/Colonoscopy Cost

Hopefully you have private health insurance to help cover your endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure but be aware that not all levels of private health insurance cover these procedures. I was caught out by this as even though I had top level health cover in preparation for obstetrics costs, I had only recently changed my cover level and was told I was not covered for my endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure and learnt an expensive lesson. To rectify this, I had to go through a long process of proving that this was not a pre-existing medical condition and show that I had only started going through the blood testing process and the actual endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures after I updated my cover. In the end I got most of my money back but be aware it would have cost me around $2000 per procedure and even with cover you will still have to cough up for your excess and out of pocket expenses which are usually a couple of hundred dollars depending on your excess level.

colonoscopy prep tips

Its super important to follow the colonoscopy prep that your doctor gives you. If you don’t and your bowel is not empty it can make it very hard to conduct the procedure and you may even be sent away to do the colonoscopy prep all over again for another day. Trust me, you do not want to do this twice.

Colonoscopy prep starts a few days before when it’s a good idea to start eating a low fibre diet and definitely avoid things like nuts, grains and seeds.

The day before your Endoscopy and Colonoscopy procedure you need to start full on colonoscopy prep by fasting but can still consume clear drinks such as light-coloured cordials and juices, black tea, clear soup and of course lots of water. During this time, you will start your bowel prep for colonoscopy by preparing and drinking the colonoscopy prep drink that was given to you by your doctor. A few hours before your procedure you will be told to stop drinking as well.

Endoscopy and colonoscopy prep can be uncomfortable but there are some things you can do to make it more bearable.

colonoscopy prep tips 1
  • Keep hydrated with lots of the allowable liquids to prevent headaches and dehydration during your colonoscopy prep
  • Make sure you are at home and dressed comfortably to spend lots of time in the toilet
  • Organise some Netflix and books to keep you occupied or just rest on the couch or bed
  • Pre-prepare your colonoscopy prep drink and stick it in the fridge to chill as this will make it much nicer to drink
  • Free yourself of any responsibilities such as work or children during your colonoscopy prep so you can just relax at home between bowel movements
  • Buy some premium toilet paper, the softer the better as things are going to get rough

Foods to Avoid Before Colonoscopy Procedure

Part of your endoscopy and colonoscopy prep will be fasting and avoiding certain foods in the lead up to the procedure. When keeping hydrated, ensure you stick to light coloured drinks and particularly avoid those that are red, blue and purple. You should also avoid things like nuts and grains and generally stick to a low fibre diet in the days leading up to your colonoscopy procedure. Make sure you don’t eat any fruit or vegetable skins or seeds and don’t forget things like popcorn should also be avoided in the lead up to your colonoscopy procedure.

Foods to Eat Before Colonoscopy

Foods to Eat Before Colonoscopy

It’s really important to stay hydrated during the endoscopy and colonoscopy prep. I had terrible headaches and nausea during the fasting period and really should have tried to drink more fluids. Just make sure they are clear fluids including water, juices, cordial, black tea, clear soup and sports drinks in light colours like yellow. In the lead up week to your colonoscopy procedure you should stick to a low fibre diet such as white bread, pasta and rice, seedless fruit without skin, vegetables without the skin and well cooked, eggs and lean meat such as chicken and fish. Switching to soft foods a couple of days before your colonoscopy procedure may help with the prep when you need to empty your bowel.

Want to know all the gritty details of endoscopy and colonoscopy prep? Click here to read my minute by minute diary of the prep and procedure.

How to Prepare for Pregnancy After 30

how to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30

So, you’ve made the decision to have a baby? Now what? Well yes, there is that important little factor known as intercourse that’s involved, but just how can you prepare for pregnancy after 30 before you even start mattress dancing?

how to prepare for pregnancy after 30

Book an appointment with your GP

The first thing I did before we started trying for a baby was to see my doctor and ask her how to prepare for pregnancy after 30 and get a general health check done. Its important to make sure you have things like your papsmear up to date to screen for cervical cancer as you won’t be getting these things done while you’re pregnant and just give the old body a once over to see if there are any red flags. For me this included a blood test to see how all my vitamin levels were doing and check that all my vaccinations were covered. We also discussed any family history of health problems or pregnancy complications that may affect my pregnancy.

how to prepare for pregnancy after 30 see your doctor

Lucky for me I got the tick of approval for vaccine coverage but unfortunately my bloods showed I was low in iron and vitamin D, even though I seemingly had a healthy lifestyle and diet, so I had to undergo further testing in this area which I’ll talk more about in another post. Depending on the type of birth control you might have been using, this is also a good time to discuss how to prepare for pregnancy after 30 by safely coming off contraception. For me, I was just using the contraceptive pill so it was as easy as stopping taking them and waiting for my cycle to regulate.

Visit the dentist

I have to say this is one thing I did not do in the recommended steps on how to prepare for pregnancy after 30. I’m a massive chicken when it comes to visiting the dentist so I ignored this advice. As it turns out, I got through my pregnancy without any issues but gum disease has been associated with pre-term labour and its also not recommended to get dental work and x-rays etc done whilst pregnant so it is a good idea to get a healthy mouth sorted in order to prepare for pregnancy after 30.

How to Prepare the Body for Pregnancy After 30

There are some important steps you can take to ensure optimal health before you start trying to conceive. Here are my tops tips for how to prepare your body for pregnancy after 30.

Vitamins

vitamins to prepare for pregnancy after 30

As I mentioned earlier, in my health check I discovered I was deficient in iron and vitamin D so I began to take some supplements to make up for this. Regardless of whether you are deficient or not, an important step in preparing the body for pregnancy after 30 is to take a vitamin specifically tailored for woman trying to get pregnant. For me, this was Elevit, but there are plenty of brands on the market and your GP should be able to recommend one for you if you are unsure. The main thing you’re looking for is that your supplement contains Folic Acid which has been shown to reduce neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The first few weeks after conception are said to be when baby is developing vital organs so it’s important to be already taking a supplement before you start trying as most woman don’t know they are pregnant until its already after this critical stage and it can also take time to build up the required levels that your body needs. I took Elevit throughout my pregnancy as well as my additional vitamins in order to ensure my body was best prepared for pregnancy after 30.

Male vitamins

And the vitamins aren’t just for mum. I had my husband start taking Menevit three months before we started trying in order to prepare his body for pregnancy after 30 and up until we had a confirmed pregnancy. These male fertility vitamins are meant to help maintain healthy sperm. The makers claim the antioxidants it contains can improve sperm swimming and sperm-egg joining and can also protect against DNA damage.

Healthy diet

how to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30 healthy diet

I wouldn’t say my diet was too bad to begin with but when looking at how to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30, I thought it was important to ensure I was eating really well and cutting out some things. I stopped drinking alcohol except for the occasional glass on the weeks I would find out I wasn’t pregnant that month. I wasn’t a smoker, but definitely tried to minimise my exposure to second and third hand smoke. And I eliminated caffeine from my diet. For me this wasn’t so hard as I wasn’t a coffee drinker, but I did enjoy a weekly can of Coke or two. Caffeine has actually been shown to be perfectly fine to continue consuming during pregnancy, so for me it was just a personal decision that I wanted to minimise any chemicals I put into my body and passed onto my baby. Its also time to start thinking about foods you may not want to consume anymore due to higher chances of dangerous bacteria e.g. soft cheeses but I’ll talk more on that in another post.  

Weight and Fitness routine

how to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30

I was already at a healthy weight so didn’t have to worry about this one, but its recommended that you get to within a healthy weight range in order to prepare the body for pregnancy after 30. Pregnancy is also not a time to be starting a new fitness routine so make sure you’re already doing any exercise you want to do throughout your pregnancy. For me, it was my weekly barre class and occasional walks with the dog, which I kept up through most of my pregnancy. This goes for your partner too as his health and fitness can affect sperm health.

Unsafe toxins

how to prepare the body for pregnancy

There are a few toxins to be mindful of once you start preparing for pregnancy after 30. Things like cat litter eg cat litter, paint, cleaning products or any chemical-based product really. If you have a cat, it is recommended that you get someone else to do this job during your pregnancy. We were moving out of our house a few months after bub was due so we didn’t end up doing any painting for the nursery. As far as cleaning, I was lucky enough to have a cleaner every fortnight due to working full time and if I needed hard chemical stuff done outside her duties then I got hubby to do it; things like oven cleaners and shower gels. You probably know the ones because you practically choke when you use them on a normal basis. Another option is to look into more natural cleaning products such as vinegar, bi-carbonate soda and tea tree oil.