Planning to get pregnant can be very empowering. In a world where so many of us unintentionally get pregnant, there is something to be said about being able to plan this one (or several) event whose repercussions literally last a lifetime.
It's not a luxury that everyone has, but those of us who do have it, have the benefit of laying the foundation of our child's development from as early as the first idea of them. For women with that advanced notice, I offer you the benefit of my experience – the 3 best things I did before trying to get pregnant.
1. I talked to my obstetrician/gynecologist.
One thing that may shock you about this conversation with the OB is that laying the groundwork for baby-making can take a few months. When I walked into the OB's office and announced my intentions to get pregnant and asked what I needed to do, I was shocked to hear that I should be on prenatal vitamins for several months in advance. What?! I wanted to get pregnant NOW. I'm not going to say whether I listened or not, but that's just one of the many reasons to check in with the doctor before you start on your merry procreating way.
Some other reasons include:
· Making sure your hormone levels are good.
· Making sure you're healthy.
· Testing for risk factors of certain diseases like Tay-Sachs.
· Checking your iron.
· Learning your blood type (if you didn't already know).
Nobody likes surprises, and should something come up while pregnant, it's good to have a baseline for your health pre-pregnant.
2. I checked out the policies for pregnancy and maternity leave where I worked.
This is one of those things you may think you have down, but you might not. Look into what kind of maternity leave, if any, there is at your office. Familiarize yourself with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Also, look into any added benefits your office may offer such as a cafeteria plan to help you with additional expenses like daycare and other medical bills.
A word of caution, however, the workplace isn't always the friendliest place when it comes to women planning to become pregnant. For the higher ups, it means they now have the added stress of doing without you for a period of time or maybe forever. Only you know your office climate, so just keep it in mind when you start perusing through the handbook and potentially asking questions.
3. I did the cold, hard math.
Having a child is expensive. And while you may have heard that money shouldn't make a difference, that you'll "make it work" regardless, that just isn't good enough for some of us. Make sure you do the salary to expenses math. Don't forget to factor in how much it will cost to add a child to your medical, dental and/or vision insurance. Try not to get too upset if you come up short. All that means is that you'll have to get more creative to get the needs of your family met. And you can. It doesn't mean you have to give up on your dream.