What to consider before family planning

What to consider before family planning

The idea of building your own little family is a beautiful thing. However, before you delve into the journey of conceiving, there are a number of aspects to consider, together with your partner, including optimising your health, lifestyle, finances, and more. Read on for things to consider before planning for a family.

Discuss on Parenting Issues, Pre-pregnancy

Before trying to conceive, it’s vital to go over big parenting issues such as childcare, method in raising your child, working or staying at home and religious practices, so that you’re both on the same page. Before you lose your mind over divergent viewpoints on topics like circumcision, public vs. private schools, or other distant concerns, keep in mind that you can and might change your mind about many of these matters as you go along. Priorities, expectations, and worries should all be discussed by couples throughout the process, but especially before becoming pregnant.

Stop Taking Birth Control Pills Before Conceiving

Evidently, you need to stop taking your birth control pills a few months before you and your partner start trying to conceive. This allows you to assess your monthly cycle and determine when you’re ovulating or when you’re the most fertile. After using the pill for some time, your cycle could be different from what it was initially. After stopping the pill, it may take some time for your hormone levels to normalise. However, if your period hasn't arrived after three months, you should consult a doctor.

Cut Down on Partying

It goes without saying that drinking, smoking, and taking recreational drugs during pregnancy is a very big no-no. If you used to drink copious amounts of alcohol pre-pregnancy, it’s wise to cut down tremendously. The same is true for your partner. Too much alcohol consumption can affect fertility and can also lower sperm count. If you're a moderate drinker who indulges every now and again, you probably don’t have to change much, as long as you're sure you're not pregnant yet. What’s worse is smoking cigarettes, be it on a social or occasionally basis might harm the quality of your eggs and partner's sperm, as well as raise your risk of birth defects, miscarriage, preterm labour and other complications once you become pregnant. According to research, even if you don’t smoke and are exposed to secondhand smoke, your chances of conceiving become instantly harder than those who aren’t. In conclusion, now is the best time to quit, tell your partner to quit as well and remove yourself from spaces where people gather to smoke.

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

It’s a sign for you to reduce your caffeine intake if the Starbucks barista knows your order the minute you enter the cafe. Studies show that drinking too much caffeine may trigger miscarriage, and you’d want to avoid withdrawal after you're pregnant. Doctors have differing opinions on the amount of caffeine that’s safe to drink once pregnant. Most experts agree that you can safely consume up to 200 mg while some advise against using it at all, particularly during the first trimester. Don't forget to take into account other typical sources of caffeine in your calculations, such as soda, tea, energy drinks and even some painkillers. Between 30 and 60 milligrammes of caffeine can be found in a 12-ounce can of Coke or an 8-ounce cup of green or black tea; 130 mg can be found in two extra-strength Excedrin tablets. Start looking at labels to find out how much caffeine is in your diet if you're concerned.

Trimming  Your Frame for a Healthier Pregnancy

It's time to take action if you and your doctor agree that shedding a few kilograms would be beneficial in you getting pregnant. Trimming 2 to 5 kgs can enable you to experience a healthier pregnancy and delivery with fewer risks and difficulties. Take it a step further and get on a fitness regime like walking a few times a week or joining a Pilates class, which you'll stick with during and after pregnancy. Ask your doctor if you should gain a little weight if you're underweight. Being very thin is known to mess with fertility, especially when it messes with your period frequency. An optimum body mass index (BMI) for getting pregnant is often between 19 and 24. Bear in mind that the BMI serves merely as a guide, because a healthy body can appear in various shapes and forms. That said, obesity and being underweight can increase the risk of complications during pregnancy.

Start Saving Before Conceiving

Having babies and raising them are not cheap in this day and age. So, you’d have to start saving some money pre-pregnancy for diapers, carriers and all sorts of baby things and before you know it, you’re sending your child to college. If you put aside RM100 a month, you’ll feel better knowing that you have some kind of savings before you even try to conceive. And if you have any extra cash, you can always use it to pay for baby needs like furniture for the nursery.

Take Prenatal Supplements

Watch enough daily life vlogs on YouTube and you’d instinctively know that if you’re thinking of getting pregnant in the next three to six months, you should start popping in daily multivitamins with 400 micrograms of folic acid. Prenatal and early pregnancy intake of vitamin B can reduce brain and spine birth defects by up to 70%. Additionally, the multivitamin itself is abundant with a host of nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy, such as calcium for strong teeth and bones and iron to avoid anaemia. Take the pill in the morning after brushing your teeth, or store it in a jar at work and set an email reminder. If you dislike taking pills, they are also available in chewable form. Once you get pregnant, it will be simpler to remember if you start the habit now.

Sleep While You Still Can

Sleep as much as you can now because you know you’d be severely lacking on those zzz’s when the baby arrives. Sleep in with your other half on the weekends and take short naps whenever you can. Sleepless nights are expected when the baby is born but being pregnant can contribute to it, especially with things like heartburn, getting up to pee, and adjusting to side-snoozing can keep you up. According to studies, getting enough sleep can even hasten the process of becoming pregnant because individuals who don't get enough zzz's struggle more with regular ovulation than those who do.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Some research suggests that experiencing very high stress levels can affect ovulation or interfere with an embryo's ability to implant in the uterus. Additionally, if you have a Type A personality, you might even be more stressed than you already are once you're pregnant and preparing for the baby. That’s why it’s important to assess your emotional state and your life and determine what makes you most relaxed for this next adventure. Maybe it’s sipping on a cup of hot chamomile tea while watching Netflix, or a brief 2 km jog or just FaceTiming your best friend and talking for hours. Whatever it may be, if it helps you now, it will also benefit you when you're expecting a child or are a new parent.

Decide On Your Living Space

Before diving into starting a family, ask yourself some important questions like would you need a bigger space once you’re pregnant and deliver or do you need to move somewhere more strategic and accessible? Plan and execute. Idealistically, you should settle down somewhere you intend to stay for at least a few years. Being content in your house may make you feel better prepared for becoming pregnant. When you're pregnant, you won't want to deal with movers, renovations, lawyers, landlords, or closings (and no one wants to pack when they're eight months pregnant). You don't need a large, multi-bedroom house in the outskirts to raise a child, so if you're content where you are, don't feel like you have to move. Keep in mind that many infants sleep in their parents' bedroom for the first few months of their lives. If you find yourself requiring or wanting additional space in the future, you'll have plenty of time to make the major shift.

Consult With Your Family Members

Knowledge is power. Consult your mum, sisters, aunts and grandmas who have gone through pregnancy about their experiences and how long it took for them to conceive. Questions like, were there any complications, like preterm labour or breech presentation or certain health conditions tend to run in families are smart to ask and can provide you with some clarity. Not every pregnancy journey is the same, so your experience may differ to your mum or aunts. General fertility issues such as poor egg quality (due to age) or blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, are not hereditary, however, others, like fibroids or ovarian cysts could potentially run in families. Your doctor can help you understand which problems, if any, can affect your fertility or pregnancy when you talk to them, making you better equipped to handle them later on, if necessary.

Visit Your Doctor

Many experts advise scheduling a pre pregnancy check-up at least three months before you plan to start trying for a baby, especially if you’re not diligent with check ups. Your doctor should ensure you're up-to-date on vaccinations, check for STDs, perform tests for heart-related diseases including high blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep an eye on any chronic conditions (such as diabetes, asthma, or thyroid problems). Bring up any concerns you have during your appointment regarding conception, and make sure you are not taking any drugs that can impair fertility. You can use this visit to the doctors’ to assess whether you’re comfortable with the doctor and want to continue seeking their professional help once you’re pregnant. It’s also important to ascertain whether your doctor is an obstetrician as some may be only gynaecologists. Consider all aspects carefully as they will be responsible for monitoring you throughout pregnancy and delivery. Considering that many men see doctors far less regularly than women, it would be wise to send your other half for medical check up too, to determine whether they have any chronic conditions, and if medications can affect sperm count or fertility.

Examine Your Teeth and Gums

Even while it may not seem to have anything to do with fertility, getting your teeth and gums examined before becoming pregnant is another smart choice. This is because there are research that proves oral health is linked to a healthy pregnancy; women with unchecked gum disease are found to be more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth and preeclampsia. In reality, frequent brushing, flossing, and dental visits can reduce your chance of miscarriage by up to 70%. Having your teeth checked out now allows you time to control gingivitis, or gum inflammation, and receive any necessary x-rays, which should be avoided while pregnant. Your dentist might advise scheduling cleaning appointments every few months if your oral health could use some improvement.

Embrace Your Natural Roots

It’s time to return to your original root colour, only because it isn’t healthy to get touch-ups every few weeks while you're pregnant. While there isn’t sufficient studies to support that hair colouring is unsafe during pregnancy, most experts advise minimising exposure to chemicals, especially in the first trimester when your baby's major organ growth takes place. It’s always best to consult your doctor if you have any concerns. You can also check with your colourist if there are options to scale back or transition to highlights, which require less upkeep and are generally safer, or employ dyes that make use of less chemicals.