What to consider before getting pregnant

Dreaming of baby? Whilst the baby-making act itself is quite simple (and enjoyable), there are quite a few matters to take into consideration before you hop on the baby-making wagon. From preparing your body physically to addressing any health issues, discussing parenthood and the ways and means to reach it, to financial considerations, and employment and care prospects, deciding on baby is not always a simple decision to make. This article aims to assist you in reaching informed decisions on pregnancy and parenthood, as well as to highlight some aspects which need to be taken into consideration. Pregnancy and parenthood carry substantial responsibility; it thus helps to be well-set beforehand.

Preparing your body for pregnancy

The run-up to pregnancy is as important as pregnancy itself. There are a number of things you should do pre-pregnancy to ensure the most optimal outcome. Schedule a pre-pregnancy appointment with your health practitioner. Your personal and family history will be reviewed as well as any medications you might be taking. Matters concerning weight, diet and exercise will be discussed and advice provided on how to end habits which can negatively affect your baby. Taking folic acid, limiting caffeine intake, exercising, and keeping a healthy weight, help your body both pre- and during pregnancy.

Stopping Birth Control

Pregnancy and timing are not necessarily good buddies. Whilst still very possible, stopping birth control does not mean that you will get pregnant right away. This also depends on the type of birth control that you are currently using. Schedule a visit to your health practitioner to discuss pre-conception issues, including the best way to go about stopping birth control. Ideally, birth control should be stopped one month in advance of trying to get pregnant. This will help you determine your last menstrual period, which in turn aids in determining your estimated due date.

When only one partner is ready for parenthood

It might be that you cannot wait to welcome a baby into your family, but your partner is hesitant. Whether you’ve talked about kids and now the other half has sidetracked; or the subject was never discussed, it helps to identify and work on any underlying issues that are leading to this situation. Childhood issues, marriage stumbling blocks, and financial worries, can all come into play when one partner is not as ready to take the leap. Identifying the problem and addressing it is the first step in coming to a balanced decision on parenthood prospects.

Considering the financial aspects

With a new baby come new responsibilities, and this includes financial ones. Reviewing your current financial status and analyzing how this would be affected by a new baby is key in ensuring that you can still pursue the lifestyle you wish, even with another family member. Imperative to consider is life insurance: how much life insurance does your family need, which type is best, and should the child be added to your policy or opt for a separate child insurance policy? The added health costs surrounding pregnancy and childbirth should also be taken into consideration: does your health insurance plan cover prenatal care, labor and delivery?

Budgeting, and monitoring spending and savings also ensures that you’re financially prepared for the added costs associated with a new child. Having sufficient funds available to cover baby’s needs, and the reduced family income associated with birth, ensures a smooth start to the parenthood journey. In the case of infertility, financing treatments or adoption costs need to be addressed. As a family, it is also advisable to have six months of living expenses saved up to cater for any emergencies.

If you think you’re not financially ready for a new child, try to work out a realistic plan how this can be achieved.

Are your home and car baby-ready?

With a new baby comes the need for more space, both at home and for travelling. It helps to consider if your home is big enough to accommodate your growing family and if every member can still have their own space for privacy. You may realize that you would need to move house to be able to accommodate another person. In this case, analyze if you’re financially ready as well as how far you’re willing to move. If you don’t intend to walk or use public transport everywhere, check if your car is well-equipped to hold a car seat and other items the baby will need, such as a stroller, as well as if your car is insured enough.

Determining care

As a parent, it is only natural that you wish only the best for your child. Being present as a parent or caregiver is essential to their healthy development. Parents and carers are at the forefront in equipping children with the skills to succeed and strive as adults; they provide a first view of values that children will encounter and live by through their life. Going on the parenthood journey solo has specific challenges; taking the plunge as a couple is not necessarily any easier. Determining the main care giver, analyzing day care options beforehand, and identifying any other friends and family who can help will make the parenthood journey proceed more smoothly.

Pregnancy, parenthood and your career

You’ve worked hard to be where you are in your career. It thus makes sense to research your employer’s family leave policy as well as any family-friendly measures you may avail of once baby arrives. Check for benefits you are entitled to and how long you or your partner can go without work, both financially and work-responsibilities wise.

Thinking of having another child

There can be quite a difference from your initial planning to go for an x number of kids to how it all plays out in reality. The first wish to add to your brood may come as quite a surprise; ‘are we done?’ becomes a question to be seriously reckoned with. If you do find yourself as a couple unsure of the answer, it might be that you are indeed not done. Nonetheless, it helps to analyze the ins and outs of another child and how the addition would affect you as a family.

Ways and means of getting pregnant

It may seem quite straightforward, but getting pregnant is not always necessarily so. When the road is difficult and pregnancy cannot be achieved after one year of trying, infertility comes into play. Whilst such a diagnosis may be difficult to come to terms with, scientific advances in fertility treatments are there to assist you achieve your dream.

If, on the other hand, the natural route is simply not an option for you, it helps to know that much progress has been made in scientifically-aided conception and birth.

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