But before you get to this stage of the excitement, there are plenty of things parents to be can be doing to get healthy, have fun, get prepared and start trying to make that big dream become a little heartbeat.
So, without further ado, here is a list of some things every couple should do before they take the leap into expectant-parenthood:
1. Talk The Talk
Parenting is not one of those things you should take lightly. No way. Instead, it’s a challenge that is absolutely jam-packed full of some massive issues that you and your partner should sit down and have a chinwag about. Some of them may be things you’ve already thought about, others may be things that have never crossed your mind before. We’re talking about how you’ll share the childcare duties, whether you’ll both go back to work or one of you will stay at home, what religious traditions you want to uphold and where you will want to live. Now, we know that this barely scratches the surface of issues at hand, especially when you consider the different schooling systems and whatnot but, take a breath, and accept a lot of the decisions you need to make won’t crop up until way down the line and, trust us, your mind may well change. The things that you should be talking about now, before the pregnancy part of the process, are things like your priorities, your fears and your expectations.
2. Practise Being Parents
We don’t mean you have to get a puppy or start looking after your niece and nephew one weekend a month. What we mean is, reign your lifestyle in a bit. Stop drinking and smoking. This isn’t just because these are big no-no’s during pregnancy, nor is it because you need to get used to not being as free to do these things come parenthood, but because both of these things can make getting pregnant a whole lot harder. Booze has been proved to reduce sperm count amongst men and smoking, even the odd one, can drastically increase your chances of a) birth defects, b) miscarriages and c) preterm labor, just to mention some of them. So, yeah, basically, what we’re saying is, there has never been a better time to try and quit these vices, together. You’ll feel infinitely better if you do, and you will give your little bubba the perfect place to grow and thrive.
3. Wave Bye-Bye To The Pill
According to studies, it is best if you come off the pill a couple of months before you plan to start trying to get pregnant. The reason for this is because, well, it will give you plenty of time to figure out when the best time to start trying is. We’re talking menstrual cycles, ovulating and that time when you are most fertile. Even if you remember what your cycle was like before you went on the pill, it might have changed since being on it. What’s more, it can take a decent dollop of time for your hormone levels to get back on track. That, right there, is three good reasons to ditch the pill sooner rather than later.
4. Good Morning, Doctor
One of the best things any couple can do is visit their doctor and get what is called a pre-pregnancy checkup, something that works best around three months before you start actively trying. They’ll be able to make sure you’re all up to date with your vaccinations, check you’re free of any STDs, don’t have any heart or health issues (mainly cholesterol and high blood pressure) and no conditions that fall into the category labelled chronic. They will also be able to test you for fertility problems and, if anything shows up, recommend you to a specialist like MCRM Fertility to make sure that any challenges are easily overcome. It could also be worth having some genetic tests done, depending on your ethnic background. And, last but by no means least, your doctor will be able to go through any medication you might be taking and inform you of any that will work against your attempts.
5. Caffeine Craziness
Another thing that is worth cutting back on is your coffee intake, especially if you visit three shops so often that they all know your order before you’ve even opened your mouth and exhaled. This is just because caffeine has been proved to increase the chances of a miscarriage, but because quitting now, sooner rather than later, you will reduce your chances of suffering from caffeine withdrawal symptoms. As for drinking caffeine during pregnancy, we would always say it’s best to cut it out entirely, but others say up to 100 milligrams a day is okay. So, your choices are, start reading the label armed with a fine tooth comb or simply stop and not take any chances. It’s what decaf coffee was invented for.
6. Start Saving Some Dollar
Now is the time to start putting some of your hard-earned cash into savings because it’s one of those habits that will help you and your kids in so many ways. College tuition, the thousands of nappies you will use, food and clothes and all that baby stuff that you will need to stock up on when the time comes. Sure, you might tell yourself that you’ll wait until you get confirmation you are with baby, but you might not realise just how expensive being pregnant is too. There is the cost of doctor’s visits, adding maternity clothes to your wardrobe, buying baby books, joining baby groups and lots more. Basically, what we are saying is, now is the time to start building that nest egg and, should you have any cash left over, well, spend it on a holiday or some nice furniture or whatever takes your fancy.
7. The Search For Stress-Free
There are two reasons we recommend you spend some time looking for the one thing that will calm you down and destress you. First off, there is research to prove that being stressed is going to prolong your ability to get pregnant. But that’s only part of the reason, The other reason you should see if your mood responds better to lemon and ginger tea or watching old reruns of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is being pregnant is a pretty stressful time, as is being a parent. So, instead of snapping at everyone around you (especially those that are just trying to help), accept that you might get a little antsy and pick a go-to stress reliever. Trust us, your partner will get into the habit of delivering whatever it is without you ever having to ask. It’s amazing.
8. Child-Friendly Restaurants
Actually, we take that back. Before anything else, make a list of restaurants you and your partner really want to eat at and then start checking them off one by one. We’re not saying you can’t go out for a delicious meal when you are pregnant, but there will be something missing when all you want to do is look at the dessert menu and can’t indulge in a bottle of wine. That’s without even mentioning the foods you won’t be able to gorge on, such as seafood, Caesar salads and anything with soft cheeses. As for the child-friendly list, this may seem a little eager but you will be so happy you made a list of these when your little one arrives. Like we keep saying, your patience will run thin, your feelings of cabin fever will run high and you’ll just want to get out, usually for lunch. The last thing you’ll want to do is drive around trying to find somewhere that is child-friendly.
9. Weigh Yourself Up
If you’re the kind of person that looks in the mirror and wants to shed a couple of pounds, now is the time to put in the effort. Not only will this help you get pregnant easier, losing some weight will also help you enjoy a much healthier pregnancy too, one where there are fewer risks to worry about and fewer complications too. It could be that you start walking more, join a pilates class, take up spinning or anything that takes your fancy. The other thing that may spur you on a bit is knowing that losing weight will make you feel more comfortable, like way more comfortable. Being pregnant means carrying around a whole lot more weight, so the last thing you want to do is make life harder for yourself.