Thinking of starting a family? It’s an exciting time but it is also a time of insecurities, concerns and anxieties.
There is no doubt that planning and preparation for your first pregnancy is key in helping you deal with all the challenges you are going to face…
#1 Get Your Finances in Order
This may not be the most obvious starting point to making a baby but taking note of what other new mums and dads have said, getting finances in better shape is a great first move.
Having a baby is expensive – there are all kinds of things you need to buy – and taking maternity leave can also hit the finances. As well as getting your bank account in better shape, saving a small sum of cash can be helpful for buying the essential items such as a cot and buggy.
#2 Get a Once-Over by the Doctor
As expectant parents, there will be many physical challenges that lay ahead. When you are pregnant, your body will go through many changes, driven relentlessly by changing hormones.
Some women, for example, suffer from occasional leaks of urine during pregnancy, down to surging pregnancy hormones, coupled with the growing weight of baby on the bladder.
Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong with several sessions of pelvic floor exercises every day is a great way to stay in control of your bladder, as well as using appropriate incontinence pads to manage leaks.
Making a trip to the doctor is also a good idea for both you both. Testing for STIs, for example, followed by treatment if needed, is usually a good start.
You may also need to discuss any medical issues that could impact on pregnancy, as well as hereditary issues you may want to discuss.
#3 Sort Your Lifestyle Out
Just like your finances, your body needs to be in good shape to be able to carry the extra weight of a growing baby, as well as all the other changes it will face.
And this means…
- Cutting out alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Tidy up your diet by making sure you are eating healthy foods and drink
- Stay hydrated
- Get fit by exercising regularly – a brisk walk every day is a great habit to get into
- Cut down or cut out caffeinated drinks such as strong coffee, teas, hot chocolate and ditch the caffeinated energy drinks
- Men need to loosen off their underwear, sticking with boxer shorts that help the testicles remain cooler and to make better quality sperm
#4 Get Reading
Fear comes from not knowing what to expect. Many women – and expectant dads! – suffer from many anxieties and more than a few bout of nerves when it comes to pregnancy, giving birth and the first few weeks of being new parents.
Getting your head in the books is important to equip yourself with the information you need. However, just one note of caution – make sure you look at where you are getting this information and who is providing it. Is it from a reputable source and one that you can trust?
There is a lot of information on the web, some of it accurate and useful but there are also many ‘old wives’ tales’ that still perpetuate today. If you are unsure of any aspect of your pregnancy, trying to conceive or the birth, always ask someone with trained knowledge and experience.
This isn’t to say that some of the online parenting forums are not great places to get information, share stories and experiences etc. But remember, every pregnancy is different, people are different and what worked for one person will not for another. Do what feels right for you and your partner.
#5 Take your Vitamins
Early pregnancy is an important time for the developing foetus but for some pregnant women, it is a time of poor sleep patterns coupled with distressing dreams, heartburn and the dreaded ‘morning sickness’, an anomaly in itself as this feeling of nauseousness can happen at any time of the day, not just mornings.
Taking vitamins ensures that you are still getting all your essential vitamins and minerals. Upping your folic acid intake is essential in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy but always check that any supplements you do take are suitable for use during pregnancy.
Now all you need to do is start making babies… and that takes practice!
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