It can be such an exciting step when a couple feels they are ready to have a baby. They have a whole life of excitement and challenges ahead of them and there is something rather grown-up about the idea of becoming parents.
It is a lovely notion, but there are certain things that are helpful for couples to do when they decide they are ready to build a family. First, do you know what your partner feels about parenting? Does he/she have strong views on gender identity, nursing, or home-schooling? Did they have an experience as a child that has shaped their beliefs? All these topics can bring on some interesting discussions.
Once the decision has been made, there may be a realization that while parenthood will be wonderful, there are certain doors that might be shut to you as a couple. According to BabyCenter, traveling with a baby and seeing friends on a regular basis are all more challenging when there is a teething baby in the picture. Asking other parents what they feel they are missing out on now that they have children can be a useful way of seeing life from a parent’s point of view.
Obviously, it’s vital for both parents to think about their health and get a doctor’s check if necessary. A few subtle changes in lifestyle might be called for to make getting pregnant as easy and stress-free as possible.
20 Discuss Their Individual Parenting Beliefs
According to Bustle, when a couple is planning to start a family, it is important to establish their individual ideas on how to bring up children. If the conversation has not happened before, it can be revealing to discover that one prospective parent is in favor of spanking while the other is diametrically opposed to it.
While there is no need to map out each potential year of the child’s life, it can be valuable to have a general discussion about parenting styles and preferences. Although it can seem a bit premature, many couples with children say that they regret not knowing fundamental beliefs that their other half had before the children arrived.
19 Remove Contraception
According to Very Well Health, if you are taking a contraceptive pill, you can get pregnant as soon as you ovulate after you stop taking the tablets. However, many women prefer to wait until they have had one natural period before they get pregnant, as doctors calculate the first day of pregnancy from the first day of the woman’s cycle, and it is easier to establish the due date if a natural period has occurred.
The same applies to a contraceptive implant, which needs to be removed by a medical professional. If you have had a coil inserted, you can get pregnant as soon as the doctor has removed it.
18 Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
For both parents, being in optimum health before getting pregnant will give you the best chance of having a healthy baby. It is important for the woman to take a folic acid supplement as soon as she starts trying.
Both parents need to eat healthily, avoid smoking or drinking alcohol and to get plenty of rest. Talk to your doctor if you are taking any medication, to ensure that it is safe to continue taking it if you should fall pregnant. Women’s Health recommends talking to your doctor about any pre-existing medical conditions as well, to ensure they are managed during pregnancy.
17 Do the Things They Won’t be Able To Do When They Are Parents
While parenting is a wonderful experience that enriches life, there are certain things that are more difficult to do when you have children. Take the chance to go to that restaurant you have always wanted to go to, go to the movies or get away to a spa for the weekend.
If money is tight, take a trip to some of the museums or art galleries that you have been meaning to visit or take a tour of your local area. Call up some friends you haven’t been in touch with for a while and arrange to meet up for a catch-up.
16 Start Saving
Babies are expensive at the beginning when there is a lot of stuff to buy. It is a good idea to put some money away. You have at least nine months to start saving for the arrival, so putting some money aside as soon as you have decided you want to start a family gives you plenty of time to get a buffer fund in place.
According to WebMd, pregnancy can be expensive. there are medical fees and maternity clothes to buy, and if the mother-to-be is planning to give up work, some extra money in the bank will prove helpful.
15 Cherish Sleep
That precious commodity that we take for granted: sleep. Most people are fully aware that newborn babies mean lack of sleep, but being rested can also help to prepare the woman for pregnancy. Baby Center points that during pregnancy, it can be hard to get a full night’s sleep due to needing to pee and general discomfort at the end.
Cherish a lie-in with your partner and take a nap in the day if you can. Being fully rested will prepare the body for the trials ahead and keep both parents calm and hopefully reduce stress in preparation for the upcoming months.
14 Take Prenatal Supplements
It is important to have adequate nutrients in the body before getting pregnant, and this is true for both parents. Women should take folic acid before getting pregnant and for the first three months of pregnancy. Both parents should take zinc and a multivitamin.
It is also recommended that women take Omega 3 fatty acids, iron and calcium. Men can benefit from an antioxidant supplement and L-carnitine, which aids sperm production and their motility according to The Bump. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will give you both a lot of these nutrients, but a supplement can add what you are not getting through food.
13 Limit Stress
It is important to keep yourself as calm as possible before conception. This can be a challenge if it is proving to be difficult, but it is important, according to Baby Centre. Stress can affect the part of the brain responsible for regulating hormones, and some of these hormones are required for the production of eggs and levels of testosterone in men.
Most people are used to a certain level of stress in their lives, so hopefully, getting pregnant won’t be too badly affected. If you find you are feeling more stressed than usual, some yoga, meditation or simple deep breathing can help calm you down.
12 Take Lots of Pictures
As soon as the baby arrives it will seem a lifetime ago since you had quality time alone with your partner, family or friends. It will be a new quality of life, but a different one. Take the opportunity to snap away before you lose the chance.
It is wonderful to have a record of memories of the time you spent before the baby comes along and a lovely record to show the child of what life was like before he or she arrived. Take pictures together and put some frames around the home. There will be little time once the baby arrives for such luxuries.
11 Watch Other Parents
Other parents with children will seem like a new source of fascination once you are planning your own family. You might find yourself noting a particular stroller or admiring the way a mother soothes her baby or talks to her toddler.
Subconsciously, lots of this information will be processed and stored ready for your own turn. Watching can be helpful, but remember that you will have a brand-new baby with its own personality and needs, and there is no good comparing your parenting with other people’s.
10 Make Any Home Changes that Need to be Done
If you need to redecorate the spare room for a nursery or put up that set of shelves that has been sitting in a box for months, now is the time to do it. You are unlikely to feel up to doing much home improvement in the early stages of pregnancy and there will be precious little time once the baby arrives.
Have a good look round the home and see what can be done to make any improvements you have in mind. You might even consider a move if your present home isn’t set up for family life. There is no need to make major changes if you don’t need to, but now is the time to do something if you need to.
9 Ask Other Parents for Advice
Once we have had children it is too late to go back and do the things we wish we had done beforehand. Talk to any parents you know and ask them for advice about what they would have done differently and learn from their mistakes. Their advice may range from the practical to the ridiculous, but it will be good research to learn from those who have gone before.
It can be very enlightening to learn that simple things are what other parents miss and can help you to appreciate your life as it is. Life is enriched beyond measure when we have children, but we have plenty to enjoy and be grateful for in the meantime.
8 Check on Work Arrangements for Parents
For both parents, if they are working, it is important to see what arrangements are in place for pregnancy and maternity or paternity leave. According to Fairy God Boss it is helpful to research what your company’s policy is towards pregnancy. Remember that there is legislation in place to ensure that women are protected when they need time off for antenatal appointments.
If you do these preliminary checks, then you will be better able to plan how much time you will have off for the pregnancy and birth, and better placed to plan financially. Once you know what arrangements your company has in place for maternity leave, you can make an informed decision about whether to return to work after the baby is born.
7 Get a Medical Check-Up
Although you will be seeing plenty of your OBGYN when you are pregnant, it is a good idea to have a check-up with the doctor when you are planning to get pregnant as well. WebMD suggests, you should get a preconception screening that can check for any health issues and make sure that you are in good health.
You can ask any questions that might be concerning you and deal with any pre-existing medical issues that you have at the same time. You can also check that all your vaccinations are up to date and get boosters if necessary. Check with your doctor that any medication or supplements you are currently taking are not contraindicated to pregnancy.
6 Spend Some Time with Friends
If you have plenty of friends with children, you will hopefully soon have even more in common with them than ever. If you have friends who don’t have children yet, now is the time to spend time with them and enjoy their company.
There often is an invisible barrier that forms between those that have children and those that don’t, as priorities differ. Once you have a baby it will be more difficult to spend time with people who don’t have children if you manage to get out of the house at all! Remind your friends how important they are to you and share your hopes with them.
5 Take a Trip
Traveling with a baby or small child is possible but presents extra challenges. Taking a trip before you get pregnant can be a great way to draw a close to the chapter of pre-parenthood. It might even be the special vacation where the baby is conceived.
Choose a grown-up holiday, something you have both always wanted to do that is within your budget. Enjoy traveling with your partner and take time to talk and to reminisce and connect while you have the chance. You can dress up in the evenings and enjoy having time as a couple and share the excitement of what is to come.
4 Discuss Your Own Childhoods
Even if you have known your partner for a long time, there may never have been the need to discuss your individual experiences as children. It can be helpful, when preparing for your own family, to talk about good and bad aspects of growing up.
If there were particular things that happened to you when you were little that you disliked, you might be determined to avoid them as a parent. Many parents try and do things differently from their parents if they had bad experiences. However according to Chicago Tribune, many couples copy their own parents because they have set such a great example.
3 Talk About what Might Happen if You Can’t get pregnant
It can be very stressful and upsetting if you are desperately trying for a baby and are finding it hard to get pregnant. While it is normal for it to take some time, it can put a strain on a relationship nonetheless. Having a talk beforehand about feelings around IVF and adoption can help ease the path should it happen.
2 Discuss the Options if the Baby has Special Needs
The topic of having a child with special needs is not often discussed when planning a pregnancy. According to Parents, a sonogram might give an indication if there is anything obvious while the baby is developing, and it is then up to the parents to decide what to do.
Bear in mind that many conditions are undetectable until birth or even early childhood. Having a child with special needs can put a huge strain on a couple, so it is healthy to have an open discussion about honest views of how to deal with it if it happens. There are plenty of parents of children with special needs who will be happy to discuss their experiences, mostly very positive.
1 The Obvious!
Obviously, the couple needs to have one-on-one time get pregnant, unless they are undergoing treatments. It can be helpful to establish the pattern of your menstrual cycle and to have an idea of when you are ovulating so that you can have that private moment the optimum time.
According to Today's Parent, the optimum time for getting pregnant is two to three days before ovulation and on the day itself. Try not to stress too much if that doesn’t happen every month. You also don’t want to be ‘clinical’ about it, just be alone together ever day or every other day during the second and third week of your cycle.
Sources: Parents, Lifewithmylittles, Todaysparent, Whattoexpect, The Bump