You and your partner are thinking about having a baby. What an exciting time! With this excitement can come some stress about what to do to ensure optimal conception. There are many things you can do and discussions you can have to make sure you are prepared. We have narrowed down the top 5 things you need to do before you start trying to have a baby.
1. Visit your doctor
One of the best things you can do before trying to conceive is to set up an appointment with your doctor. Let them know you are thinking about having a baby so they can review things like your medical history and medications with you. They can also give you tips on maintaining a healthy diet and staying a healthy weight.
Additionally, your doctor can get you started on prenatal vitamins. The CDC and WHO recommend that all women who plan on getting pregnant start taking a prenatal vitamin at least three months before conception.
2. Talk about your finances
Take the time to talk about your finances with your partner. Plan out what you will need to save for your baby now and in the future. Understand what the costs for doctors visits and hospital fees for delivery and postpartum care. Contact your insurance company to understand how your policy covers these costs.
Also, think about the future. On average, it costs about $233,610 to raise a child from birth to age 17 (1). It is essential to start thinking about your financial future early and how you will save and provide for your new child.
3. Look into your company's maternity (or paternity) leave
Employers are legally required to give new mothers 12 weeks of unpaid leave due to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. However, some companies have policies that provide a longer amount of leave and even pay you during this time. Find out your company’s policy and contact HR is you have trouble locating the policy. Maternity leave isn’t just for women anymore. Men/partners, at some companies, are now offered a paternity leave. The postpartum period is critical to your emotional wellbeing. Research in advance so you can set-up your postpartum stage up for success now.
4. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol even before you get pregnant. Not only is it right to start the habit early, but the effects of drugs and alcohol out way the risk. Cutting out smoking and drinking can increase your fertility while you're trying to get pregnant. Drinking and smoking during pregnancy are often linked to miscarriage, birth defects, and premature birth.
5. Track your ovulation
When you’re trying to get pregnant, you need to think all about timing. Start tracking your cycle, to understand when you get your period and when you ovulate. The first day of your period is considered day 1 of your cycle (full flow period). Ovulation is the time when you are most likely to get pregnant and typically occurs around day 14 of your cycle. In the months leading up to conception, try to better understand your menstrual cycle. We even suggest writing down the important ovulation dates on your calendar!