Pregnancy Planning Tips for Smart Couples
If you’re thinking about taking the biggest plunge in your life and becoming pregnant, a little planning goes a long way. In fact, most obstetricians suggest you start preparing for pregnancy at least three months before you actually conceive. Read our 10 step planning pregnancy checklist to find out about the pregnancy planning steps you can take for a happier, healthier pregnancy.
1. Pay Attention to Diet and Exercise
A fit and healthy body is more likely to lead to a fit and healthy pregnancy. It also makes it much easier to lose any weight you’ve gained after Baby arrives. Make sure you’re getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet with plenty of calcium and iron. Most doctors also recommend you start taking folic acid supplements at least three months before you’re planning to be pregnant. This dramatically decreases the chances of birth defects in your baby.
2. Look after Your Mental and Emotional Health
Being pregnant can play havoc with your emotions. It’s best to make sure you’re strong and stable to start off with. That’s not to say that people who have had depression or other mental health issues should never get pregnant. Just that you need to be aware of, and take care of, your emotional state. Consider seeing a regular counselor while you’re planning for pregnancy and throughout your term.
3. Make Sure Your Relationship is Strong and Loving
Pregnancy and parenting is so much easier when you do it as a team! Do you communicate openly about issues? Are you able to resolve differences amiably? Do you have fun together and enjoy each other’s company? A relationship in turmoil is seldom fixed by introducing a child into it. Make sure your’s is strong and stable.
4. Create a Budget and Start Saving Money
New babies may be small but they sure can cost a lot of money! Make a sensible budget, cut down on unnecessary spending, and start putting money aside for the expenses that come with being a parent. Current research shows that new parents will spend an average of $12,000 USD on baby-related expenses in the first year of parenting.
5. Kick Smoking, Alcohol, and Recreational Drug Use
The effects of all of these substances are well-known to be detrimental to pregnancy. And you really should get them out of your system before you even think about trying for a baby. Experts recommend ceasing smoking, drinking, and drug use at least 3 months before trying to conceive. And your husband should stop too! Studies show that these substances can drastically lower the sperm count. Not to mention the effects of second-hand smoke…
6. Book a Pre-Pregnancy Checkup
Book in with your regular doctor and let him or her know you’re pre planning for pregnancy. This is particularly important if you have existing medical conditions such as asthma, epilepsy, or diabetes. He or she can talk things over, run some tests, make sure you’re in good health, and refer you to any specialists if necessary.
7. Get to Know Your Family History
Start talking to parents on both sides about whether there are any known genetic conditions in the family. There is a huge range of genetic conditions which can affect your chances of becoming pregnant or affect your baby’s development in the womb. Pay particular attention to any heart or developmental disorders and pass the information on to your doctor or specialist.
8. Understand Your Ovulation Cycle
Did you know that you’re only fertile for up to six days in each menstrual cycle? So, before you start trying for a baby, you need to identify when your fertile window is. Tracking and charting menstruation and basal body temperature can help you do this. Because you can’t identify when you ovulate until the day you ovulate (the end of the fertile window), most people need to chart two or three cycles before they have accurate dates.
9. Consider Your Home Environment
Is your home suitable for raising a child? Picture your home as a family home. Will it work when there are three of you? Or do you need to look for somewhere larger, safer, or healthier? Think carefully about possible hazards in your home, including exposure to environmental contaminants.
10. Think about When, Where and How
A certain amount of planning can be done around when your due date is. If you don’t want to be heavily pregnant through the heat of the summer, don’t start trying to conceive in November or December. Likewise, if you don’t want to have a newborn baby in the dead of winter, April and May are not a good time to start trying to conceive. That said, every couple takes different amounts of time to conceive successfully and the control you have over your due date is fairly limited.
Learn More about Preparing for Pregnancy:
If you’ve worked through those ten steps and still feel really excited, you’re probably ready to start trying for a baby! Check out some of our other articles to find out more about pre-pregnancy planning:
Take a closer look at whether you’re ready to include a child in your life.
Use our free online tool for an estimate of when your fertile window will be.
Download expert texts to your Kindle (or order a hard copy!).
If you’re planning for pregnancy later in life, you may need extra care.
More information on food to eat while planning for pregnancy.
What to expect when you go to your pre-pregnancy checkup.