If you’re ready to have a baby, it’s important to prepare in all aspects of your life. Use this super handy checklist to make sure you’re on the right track!
- Discuss with your doctor any medical conditions that may impact pregnancy.
- Review medications you’re taking, and find out whether or not you should continue taking.
- Get genetic screenings to check if you are at risk for having a baby with certain known genetic problems, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease.
- Know your vaccine history. It is important to protect yourself from certain illnesses that can hurt a growing fetus. Vaccines are available for many of them (such as German measles and chicken pox). If you get vaccinated prior to pregnancy, you may need to delay getting pregnant for a period of time.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins three to six months before planning to conceive.
- Get to your proper weight. Being overweight before pregnancy can hinder fertility and increase your risk for diabetes and hypertension.
- Practice good dental hygiene. Poor dental hygiene and gingivitis have been strongly linked to pre-term labor.
- If you don’t have insurance, it’s time to get some. If you do have insurance, find out if it covers 100 percent of prenatal care and delivery.
- Review your budget. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, raising a child for 18 years will set you back nearly a quarter of a million dollars, so it’s a smart move to begin reviewing your budget before you even get pregnant You will need to save for things like day care, nannies, school, and supplies such as diapers and clothes.
- Find out about your company’s maternity and paternity leave policies.
- Start researching life insurance. Both you and your partner will need coverage once you have a child.
- Say goodbye to drugs, alcohol and caffeine. If you need help kicking any habits, you can speak to your doctor or support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Try to minimize stress as much as possible. Stress is going to take a toll on you both physically and mentally.
- Get enough sleep. When you don’t catch enough sleep, your body becomes stressed and you won’t run on all cylinders. This will cause your immune system to weaken, and this can affect the reproductive cycle.
- Address any issues in your relationship. While babies can make a happy marriage even happier, they don’t cure unhappy ones. If you’re unhappy in your relationship, get help now.
- Discuss all expectations with your partner and other family members. Talk with your partner about splitting up the childcare duties. Also talk with anyone you’re expecting to help out with babysitting and other responsibilities.