Five important questions to ask yourself if you're thinking about starting a family

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A common topic of conversation among women that are interested in having children is: when is it the right time to start a family? The short answer is that it will be different for everyone. Here are five questions that, when answered, may help you make a decision that's right for you.

  1. Where does a family fit in with your other goals?

    Goal setting can be helpful for a number of reasons, including helping prioritize things that are important to you. If you plan to raise a child with another person, you may want to confirm their goals align with yours concerning a family and other things that are important to you.

  2. What will the financial impact be when you have a baby?

    Being aware of your financial situation could be an important aspect of planning your family’s future. Since babies typically don’t require much more than the necessities of life, costs during the first year shouldn’t be astronomical unless you go on a spending frenzy (which is easy to do because there are so many adorable things to buy for babies!). BabyCenter has a helpful (and free) calculator for determining the cost of having a baby, as well as tips for saving money during the first year.

  3. What are your available childcare options and career plans?

    You may find these to be important considerations both from a financial perspective (the cost of childcare versus lost income, for example) as well as emotionally. Figuring out your childcare situation and determining if and when to return to work after your baby is born can be a heart wrenching decision! Although you may change your mind completely about these things after you have met your sweet baby, knowing the options available to you may help give you peace of mind. See our Parent's Guide to Childcare.

  4. How is your health and wellbeing?

    Before you try to conceive, visit your healthcare provider for a checkup, including pap and breast exam. Also discuss your medical history and physical and emotional health. Below is a list of examples of things you may want to discuss concerning your health or the health of your partner.

    Age and weight: This may affect your ability to conceive.

    Lifestyle: Nutrition and supplements, occupational health concerns and exposure to pesticides, toxins and other harmful exposure, smoking, alcohol or recreational drug (use or abuse) and appropriate detox, as well as stress-reduction, anxiety and depression.

    Medication: This includes medication that you previously took, are currently taking or plan to take.

    Birth control detox: Whether you should detox from birth control prior to conceiving and how.

    General health and the health of your reproductive organs: Current or prior infections, illnesses, sexually transmitted diseases and damage to reproductive organs, etc.

    How to increase your chances of getting pregnant, including the use of appropriate lubricants: Ask your healthcare provider for up to date statistics as well as information from relevant reports and studies.

    If you are looking for a more well-rounded approach to your health and wellbeing, including being informed of natural remedies, consider visiting your medical doctor as well as a naturopathic doctor.

    See this post for ways to increase your fertility and optimizing your overall health.

  5. How is his reproductive health?

    It is estimated that up to fifty percent of infertility cases are caused by factors associated with the male partner. Consider talking to your partner about going for a reproductive check-up before your try to get pregnant. See this post for ways to improve his fertility.