If you are questioning whether you are ready to start a family, consider what you will need in all aspects of your life in order to be most prepared for a child.
More than one-third of all pregnancies in the United State are unplanned, according to the Center for Disease Control. That includes 23% of pregnancies in married women who were not planning on starting a family. If you are taking the steps to prepare for a family, then you are already a step ahead. In order to ready yourself for first-time parenthood, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions to determine when the time is right for you to get pregnant.
What You Should Consider When Planning for a Family
Ideally, when planning for a family, you will have the option of sitting down with your spouse or partner and discussing the pros and cons of having a child in your lives. During that discussion, you need to consider some or all of the following before starting a family:
Can you afford a child?
According to the Department of Agriculture, a child born in 2014 will cost an average of $245,000 before he or she reaches 18 years of age. This figure is based on the necessities, like clothing, transportation, food, daycare, etc. What it doesn’t count are choice-based costs, like private schools, vacations, or college. Will your combined income be able to support approximately a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of expenses?
Are you healthy enough for a pregnancy?
Even the easiest pregnancy takes a toll on the body. It naturally suppresses your immune system and places extra stress on your heart and other vital organs. Start out smart by having a preconception examination by your doctor. Ask them about supplements, changes to your diet, and exercises that could help you prepare for pregnancy.
Will your health insurance cover your pregnancy?
Most, but not all, health insurance policies cover pregnancy-related costs. It is better to review your policy now and make any necessary changes rather than waiting until after you conceive.
Can you stop smoking, drinking alcohol, drinking coffee, and ingesting other potentially hazardous substances before you conceive?
The answer to this question should be yes, but this is often much easier said than done. If you’re not willing or able to make this major lifestyle change, you should consider postponing getting pregnant in order to protect your baby.
Are there hereditary conditions in your family, or your spouse or partner’s family tree?
A variety of genetic-related conditions, from mental illness to autoimmune diseases, can get passed down from generation to generation. It’s wise to discuss the potential for inherited conditions and prepare yourself for additional medical expenses before you conceive.
Does your job (and your spouse or partner’s) allow for family leave?
You will naturally want to spend several months at home with your baby after you give birth. Will this jeopardize your job? Will your spouse or partner also be able to take time off? Consult your employer or human resources representative to clarify the terms of your employment.
Can you adjust your estate planning?
It is not uncommon for couples to save money by initially forgoing life and disability insurance. However, this is much less sensible when you have a baby depending on you for his or her welfare. In addition, you should make sure that you have a living will stating who you want to raise your child in case something happens to the two of you.
Is your home big enough for a baby?
If you’re living in a one-bedroom apartment, you will likely need more room to accommodate a child. How will this impact your budget? Are you financially able to move to a bigger home or remodel your current one?
By taking the time to get your body, your home, and your finances ready in advance will go a long way to insuring happiness and success when you are starting a family.
To learn more about what you can do to plan for a successful pregnancy, contact The Woman’s Clinic. We have been providing Arkansas women with the best in obstetric and gynecological care for more than 70 years, and would be more than happy to do the same for you.