The fact that your body is ready does not mean that you should seek to or are ready to become pregnant. There are many questions you have to ask and sincerely answer to know for sure if you are ready.
Questions that reveal if you are ready for pregnancy
These questions check whether you have set up a solid plan for the next months and for the rest of your life
- Why do I want to have a baby? Certainly, it shouldn’t be because your mother-in-law or your friends tell you that you should.
- Does my partner also want to make a baby? Making a natural baby is about two people deciding and not one person forcing the other into it.
- Do my partner and I have similar ideas about how to raise a child? To raise a child is a planned process and you should approach it with a sound plan from your partner and you. You both are to should agree on the plan.
- How will having a baby affect my current lifestyle? There are some things a parent will have to drop or adopt when expecting and when raising a child. For example, are you ready to drop alcohol completely for the duration of pregnancy right to breastfeeding?
- How will having a baby affect my current career? Some careers and positions are not compatible with pregnancy for example a traveling saleswoman.
- Is my relationship with my partner solid enough to sustain a baby? It is sad that some people use pregnancy to keep a relationship rather than the reverse. A baby born in a shaky relationship can grow up with related complexes.
- Emotionally, are we ready to take on parenthood? Not only shaky relationships can affect a baby. When a baby is born, some mothers divert much care and attention to the baby, and the man, if he is not ready for this, feels somehow cheated.
- Financially, can we afford a baby? Babies come with added needs and many are abrupt. There are hard “heads up” alerts. You should be able to have solid financial backing for your baby to avoid shocks. Not only do you assess from your current stance but also think of a situation where your company is downsized, will you be able to comfortably have and raise your baby?
- If I’m single, do I have the necessary resources to care for a child by myself? Yes, you are married alright but know that the pressure of providing for a family has put many immature men out the door. If your man is not available for one or more unfortunate reasons will you be able to care for yourself and the baby?
- Does my health insurance plan cover maternity and newborn care? This is so that you can take steps to get proper coverage.
- If I decide to return to work after birth, do I have access to good child care? You don’t want to be worried about your baby when you are away from her. It can cause harm to your health.
These questions are preparatory and safe considerations to ponder about. If you cannot adequately answer them, it does not mean that you will fail in bringing forth or raising your baby. You can still be able to meet up with the expectations on the go but to better the odds, it is good you plan correctly. Failing to plan is a plan on its own – it is a plan to fail.
Is your body really ready for pregnancy?
The fact that you are experiencing or have gone through puberty does not necessarily mean that your body is ready for pregnancy. You may need more preparation or your baby may need more preparations before he comes.
You don’t have to be superfit to have a baby but if you are healthy, your chances are bright for a positive pregnancy.
How to get your body is ready for pregnancy
This step is in the hands of your caregiver. Make a choice of and meet your obstetrician-gynecologist, family physician, nurse-midwife, or other care providers who will check you and give you preconception advice. Other generalists can offer advice but it is proper to meet a specialist in that field for advice you can count on.
Have a preconception visit
A preconception visit will set the stage for your caregiver and you to detect potential risks to your pregnancy and come out with ways to minimize them.
A preconception visit is not only for the woman. Her partner should also attend such meetings as it concerns you both. Your family history as well as that of your partner and your lifestyle will have to be assessed for a clearer pregnancy future. Family history and lifestyle directly concern the baby and can hold health risks for both the mother and child.
During the preconception visit, your caregiver may do a complete physical examination and other tests, and internal examination.
Topics likely to be discussed during preconception visits
In the case where you have been using birth control of some sort, it will be considered and you are told when you are expected to get pregnant if you stop using them. Sometimes, women get pregnant before their next period. Some others wait or about 3 months before they get pregnant.
If you have been using contraceptive injections like Depo-Provera, you can still get pregnant when you stop as well as you can wait until up to 10 months to become fertile again.
Infections like chickenpox, german measles, and hepatitis B are dangerous in pregnancy so, before conception, your caregiver may suggest tests to make sure you are immune and if not, suggest one or more vaccines. The vaccines should be taken preferably one month before conception.
Chronic medical conditions
There are some chronic medical conditions that if you have them, you will have to make sure they are under control before you conceive. These are asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Your care provider may discuss medications and or special care that you may need during your pregnancy to keep such medical conditions checked.
Usually, you will be advised to start taking prenatal vitamins right away even as you prepare for pregnancy. It is best and recommended to start taking prenatal vitamins one to three months before pregnancy. Your body needs prenatal vitamins as they are sources of folic acid, calcium, and iron, all necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
- Folic acid helps in preventing neural tube defects. The neural tube is what develops to become the spinal cord and brain in a child. This tube develops in the first week of pregnancy sometimes even before you know you are pregnant. That is why you should start taking prenatal vitamins before conception.
- Calcium helps strong bone development in the baby and mother. Calcium gives you strong bone and teeth and helps proper functioning of the circulatory, nervous and muscular systems.
- Iron helps in the development of muscle and blood cells. The baby also needs iron to prevent anemia. This is a condition where the blood lacks red blood cells. Many prenatal chewing gums lack iron so be sure to check labels.
- Research shows that prenatal vitamins lead to high birth weight in the baby.
You do not need to have a prescription before you buy prenatal vitamins. You can buy them over-the-counter.
Taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy has been known to reduce nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Sometimes you may not be tolerant to prenatal vitamins. Some people feel queasy when taking them, others are constipated while others have hard stools. If you feel queasy, you can take them at night or with food. Also, try sucking hard candy or chewing gum after you take them. If you are constipated, drink more water and take in more fiber in your food. When you have a hard stool, ask your caregiver for a stool softener.
However, if you still experience side effects, you may try taking folic acid, calcium, and iron separately. It may help reduce the side effects.
Make sure you tell your caregiver of any medication, supplements, or herbs you are on.
Prenatal vitamins can help you with the most needed nutrients or a healthy pregnancy but as the pregnancy progresses, you may need more vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
Vitamin D. This is useful in the 3rd trimester of your pregnancy and is found in D-fortified milk foods and other calcium-rich foods like yogurt, salmon, or kale. Vitamin D is not contained in most prenatal vitamins. You should discuss this with your caregiver.
Omega-3 fatty acids. Some research indicates that they may help in fetal brain development. Most prenatal vitamins don’t contain omega-3 fatty acids. They are found in fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted infections have been known to add the risk of infertility, ectopic pregnancy and other forms of pregnancy complications. If you have such an infection or are at risk, your care provider may ask that you do preconception screening and also to take the treatment.
If you or your partner has a family history of birth defects or genetic disorders, you caregiver may advise you to see a medical geneticist for counseling.
This may not be your first pregnancy and maybe you have previously had complications in pregnancy, it is good you tell your caregiver about this. Complications like high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, or birth defects are what you should make sure you early discuss with your caregiver. If a previous pregnancy had complications involving the neural tube, your caregiver may ask that you take in more of what is present in prenatal vitamins to fight any deficiencies in folic acid, calcium, and iron.
How to maximize your fertility
Below is a list of things you should do as well as those you should not do in order to increase your likelihood of conceiving.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle choices.
Do exercise daily, make sure your diet is healthy, keep off caffeine and avoid stress at much as you can. This will also be of great help to you and your baby during pregnancy.
- Have sex regularly.
Having sex regularly is essential for most women to conceive. Daily having sex during the days leading to your ovulation can help very much.
- Do preconception planning.
Do preconception planning with your caregiver so that you can discover those hindrances to conception fight them off earlier. You should do preconception planning with your partner.
Don’t sweat it when you try your first time and the next without success. Normally, your chances of conceiving during a given period are at most 50 percent and normally 25 to 30 percent. Regular sex can help you increase the odds of conceiving and can get you pregnant within one year.
Smoking does much to complicate conceiving. It causes changes in cervical mucus making it hard for conception. Smoking can lead to miscarriages, decreased birth weight, and depriving the baby of much-needed oxygen. E-cigarettes are not a safe substitute as the nicotine in them is a health risk.
Alcohol intake reduces fertility and when you conceive, it is harmful to the developing baby.
- Some medications
Some medications make it hard to conceive as well as others are harmful when you conceive. You should discuss this with your caregiver.
Your lifestyle choices count a great deal when trying to conceive. Regular exercise, proper diet, avoiding the toxins like tobacco and alcohol will help you on your way to conceiving. Replace junk food with vegetables, fruits, and hearty whole grains.
Male fertility – the healthy sperm
Male fertility depends on the quality and quantity of the sperm. There are steps your partner can take to boost his sperm quality and quantity.
- Limit alcohol and smoking.
- Maintain a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, and full-grain foods.
- Reduce stress. It may even affect sexual function.
- Get regular exercise. Exercising to exhaustion shows a drop in sperm quality.
- Be conscious of your weight. Too much or too little body fat may disrupt the production of reproductive hormones.