So you’ve decided you’re ready to start a family. Having children is one of the most exciting, fulfilling, and meaningful things a person can do in his or her lifetime. While it sure is exciting to share the news you’re expecting, here are some things to consider before you pull the trigger on bringing new life into the world.
1.) Get on a good schedule
The first thing you can do to increase your odds of getting pregnant is to consider your ovulation schedule. Those first few days after your menstrual cycle ends are going to be your most fertile days, the days with the best chance of becoming pregnant. It can also help to take vitamins, both regular and prenatal, as well as folic acid. However, watch your Vitamin A intake. With a regular diet, this won’t be a problem; if you take multiple supplements, simply check and make sure you’re not overdoing it on any particular ingredient, especially Vitamin A. It can also help to get into the habit of exercising regularly. Once you become pregnant, the intensity and frequency will start to taper off as the pregnancy progresses, but your body and mind will be much better off from the effort and you’ll be better prepared for the strain of carrying a baby for 9 months.
2.) Eat a healthy diet
Having a baby is essentially a 9-month arduous exercise, and it’s not for everyone. The strain on your legs, back, feet, and mind can be exhausting and stressful. With that said, it’s important to begin the journey in good health. The baby is going to add a decent amount of weight to your frame, so make sure you are a healthy weight before you start trying to get pregnant. Being over or underweight can decrease your mobility and increase the chances of complications. Follow a healthy diet; eliminate excess sugar, fat, salt, and all junk food. Watch how many sugary drinks you’re putting in your body. Opt for water when possible and eschew caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee. While pregnancy cravings are to be expected, try to limit the amount of unhealthy food you put in your body both prior to and during pregnancy. It’s easier to maintain being on a healthy diet than to introduce a new healthy diet when you learn you’re pregnant.
3.) Get financially stable
According to the Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is roughly $233,000. That comes out to about $14,000 a year, which is about $1,000 less than the annual income for a person earning minimum wage. Put simply: children are expensive. You not only bear the responsibility of another mouth to feed, but a person to dress, educate, and house. With that said, if you and your partner are living in a studio apartment, it may not be the most suitable time to introduce a new permanent houseguest. On that note, a growing child will also need new clothes fairly often. Those costs add up. Maybe wait until you and your partner have a stable career or a house together. Whatever you decide, it’s important to communicate with your partner about your financial situation; use protection until you’re absolutely certain you’re ready and able to sustain the expenditures of raising a child.
4.) Make sure you have a good support system
You’ve heard the saying “it takes a village to raise a family.” There’s some truth to that. While it is physically possible to raise a child in a closed-off environment, having people to turn to and help while raising a child will do wonders. Therefore, before you’re ready to get pregnant, make sure your personal relationships are healthy. Having friends, family members, and coworkers to support you through your pregnancy will greatly augment your mental health. Plus, all those people will probably go to your baby shower; that’ll save you some money on clothes and other necessities, like a crib, toys, and bedding. Not to mention, if you’re a prospective first-time parent, having experienced, veteran parents in your support network will pay major dividends when you have questions or problems.
5.) Kick your vices to the curb
Monkey see, monkey do. We all know the truth to that. While your newborn child probably isn’t going to start swearing, smoking, or guzzling coffee, it’s a good idea to leave those nasty habits behind you before you’re ready to conceive. If you’re a smoker, pregnancy or not, it’s prudent to toss those cancer sticks in the garbage for good right now. It’s only going to get harder to quit the longer you wait, and if you smoke while you’re pregnant, you’re inviting complications and birth defects into the picture. The same can be said about excessive alcohol consumption. Instead of waiting until you become pregnant to abandon your habits and routines, discard them now and give yourself time to adapt and adjust. You’ll be happier and your body will be better suited to the rigors ahead.
Children are a wonderful, exciting part of the world and everyone deserves the opportunity to take part in the marvels of childbirth and raising a family. However, it’s a major responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Before you are ready to bring new life into the world, it’s always important to make sure your own life is as well-maintained as possible.