If you are getting ready to expand your family, we have you covered. Preparing for pregnancy may not always be an option (I know, I myself have a “whoops” baby), but can be extremely helpful for your and your baby’s future. We suggest being prepared physically, mentally, financially and medically.
- Physically – Being prepared physically for conception and pregnancy includes having healthy eating habits, taking prenatal vitamins, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy body weight. My second child, (although a bit of a surprise)-maybe take out??, was conceived at a time when I had a regular exercise schedule and was striving to eat healthy foods. I was also taking prenatal vitamins from my first child since I was still breastfeeding (link to chronicles). Even through the difficult pregnancy symptoms I was grateful for my healthy habits and post birth my body bounced back fairly quickly.
- Mentally – When you are mentally in a stable place the whole no-sleep-no-eat-no-time-for-yourself deal that comes with the first few months of a newborn are easier to handle. I had some postpartum “blues” after my second child and didn’t even recognize it until I almost broke down. Being prepared with all of the possible outcomes of pregnancy, birth and motherhood is important for your and your child’s well-being.
- Financially – Financial preparation is vital to your future child’s well-being. If you have debt or spending problems, get those in order before trying to conceive. Financial burdens will only add to the stress of having a child and can cause breakdown in marriages, neither of which is good for a newborn. When my husband and I discussed the idea of having a child, we decided to take a year and save most of my income, which we put into a “baby fund”. This did two things: 1) prepared us to live off of one income because I knew that I wanted to stay home with my future child and 2) gave us a cushion for birthing and baby expenses.
- Medically – Before conceiving, you should be sure you have your annual woman’s check-up. It is important that you are medically healthy so that you give your baby the best chance of being healthy. It’s common for people to be carriers of genetic diseases but not be aware of it. Doing genetic testing will help your health care provider be prepared at the birth of a child for possible outcomes. Being at a hospital with a NICU or having specialists on call can be the tipping point for a child’s health, wellness and life. With my current pregnancy, I did genetic testing and the results informed me and my doctor that I was not a carrier for certain conditions and therefore my child is not considered high-risk. I am glad to have the peace of mind that came with the test results, but also glad to know that I could have been researching and preparing for possible outcomes if the results had come in differently.
Some people plan in advance to start their families – for some, it’s a big surprise! When you’re thinking about starting your family, your doctor will often ask you about your family history. We hope these tips help prepare you for pregnancy. Good luck in your adventure to grow your family!