The thought of having a baby and planning your future according to your baby sounds exciting but there are a few things you need to think and consider before you decide to get pregnant.
Here are a few things you need to consider and discuss with your partner before you two decide to have your baby.
1. Get Healthy
“The No. 1 thing I tell women is health, health, health. I would love her to time the pregnancy for when she is healthiest. For a woman who is overweight or obese, the No. 1 factor for predicting a healthy baby is how healthy she is,” said Jeanne Conry, MD, Ph.D., president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
When the thought of pregnancy crosses your mind, the first thing you need to check is your body mass index(BMI). It is important to maintain a body mass index of less than 30 if you want to carry a baby. Obesity can lead to pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and high blood pressure. Exercise, eat right and lose those extra pounds. Also, if you smoke, drink or use drugs, refrain from them completely for a while before you even try to get pregnant.
2. Plan Ahead
Check for any underlying disorders or health issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, or depression. If you are diagnosed with any, discuss with your doctor and get them under control before you get pregnant. Discuss your supplements, if you need any and get a prescription for the same. Your gynecologist will most probably recommend prenatal vitamin or multivitamin tablets which are rich in folic acid. Folic acid prevents any risks of birth defects in your baby’s brain, spine. You may b advised to take these supplements before you get pregnant. Studies have shown that a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid is necessary for a woman even prior to pregnancy.
3. Vaccinations And Tests
Read about vaccinations and ensure you’re up to date on your vaccine list. Check for measles, chickenpox, diphtheria, pertussis vaccines and do a blood test to confirm the same. Also, be precautious and screen for genetic conditions like cystic fibrosis and other pre-pregnancy screening tests.
4. Financial Health
Though you don’t have to be rich to have a baby, but a baby comes with a lot of financial responsibility. It is better to have a job and some backup money in the bank once you decide to get pregnant. According to the USDA, you may roughly spend around $12,000 in the first year of your baby’s life on earth. Diapers, baby food, baby accessories, doctor visits, vaccines and the list is just endless. Also, it is important that you remain stress-free and calm mentally if you want to get pregnant.
“You don’t ovulate regularly when you’re under a lot of stress. If you’re going through something that’s taking up a lot of time and energy, you can’t concentrate on pregnancy by exercising and eating right,” said Andrea Zuckerman, MD, chief of women’s care at Tufts Medical Center.
5. Age And Family Planning
If you want to get pregnant, age is one of the major factors you need to consider. Experts suggest that if you want to pregnant, the best time would be before you turn 35. The older you get, the more the chances of your baby being born with genetic disorders like Down Syndrome.
“I see a lot of patients who are older than in the past and are having their first child. Today it’s not uncommon to see women have their first child in their late 30s or early 40s,” said Shari Lawson, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “If you are healthy, you can have a healthy pregnancy.”
Further, if you plan on having multiple children, Lawson suggests that you space each pregnancy at least 18 months apart. “That gives you the opportunity to bond with your first child, breastfeed, and also to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and make sure you haven’t developed any medical conditions,” she added.
All said, don’t let all of this stress confuse you or get to your mind. We can plan everything in our life, but with pregnancy, you cannot always plan it exactly. Sometimes, you may be hit with a surprise bun in the oven. Embrace it and start planning for it accordingly. It is a blessing to get pregnant and carry a baby inside of you.