Pregnancy is a big decision. For many women, there’s no such thing as totally ready. We know it — we’re all parents. You’re the only one who can know if it’s time, but we’ve put together this pregnancy checklist designed to help you understand your practical readiness for motherhood.
Am I ready to have a baby when it comes to my physical health?
Pregnancy is an awe-inspiring function of the female body. Actually, we’re amazed all over again every time a mother brings a new little life into this world. To be able to nurture and sustain another human being, your body goes through considerable strain.
Preparing for pregnancy means having a healthy body that can handle the physical burden of this beautiful but strenuous job. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to physical health in pregnancy, so next time we’ll dedicate a whole post to getting your body in top condition to be the perfect growing place for your baby.
Am I ready to have a baby when it comes to my mental health?
Pregnancy is precious and awe-inspiring. It’s also emotional. Really, really emotional. You’ll probably experience mood swings, buckets of tears, inexplicable happiness and all-consuming sadness … and sometimes that’s just in one day.
Some women find this more difficult to deal with than others. If you’ve got existing mental health concerns, family history of mental health issues or past trauma, having a baby can be an especially difficult and emotional time.
Make sure you’re doing everything within your power to look after yourself. If you already see a psychologist, it’s a good idea to talk to them about your choice when preparing for pregnancy.
As mums we know how emotionally taxing pregnancy and pregnancy complications can be, which is why we have a wonderful registered psychologist at O&G to help mums prioritise their mental health.
Am I ready to have a baby when it comes to my support systems?
Check in with the people who will need to be on board to support you during pregnancy. Of course that includes medical support, but it's important to also make sure you have a primary support person who will be available and willing to help with everything else.
For many women, this person will be their partner. For others, it may be a close family member or good friend. You might feel absolutely ready for a baby, but it’s important to know you have someone to lean on — or several someones! Having sufficient emotional and practical support once you get pregnant will help with everything from mood swings to pregnancy complications and then raising your little one. And, importantly, someone needs to hunt down all the strange foods you're suddenly craving.
Am I ready to have a baby when it comes to my finances?
You’ve heard it before — babies are expensive little people. Making sure you have the financial capacity to look after your child and yourself should be high on your list when you’re making a life-changing decision and preparing for pregnancy.
If you have private health insurance, check that you have obstetric hospital cover for more than 12 months prior to delivery. It’s not uncommon for women to think they’re covered when they’re not. Make sure you understand your insurance and plan ahead when you’re considering pregnancy.
Financial considerations are completely unique to each woman and family, but it’s important to do your research and know how you’re going to handle the inevitable financial strains of motherhood.
Am I ready to have a baby when it comes to my time?
It’s about priorities. If your priority is Sunday sleep-ins, you might want to reconsider the pregnancy option. Is now a good moment to take time off work without impacting your career? Will you be able to stay at home, get a nanny or find suitable childcare? Are you able to change your schedule to fit in with baby’s sleeping patterns and mealtimes?
Practical considerations like these may seem irrelevant when compared to the insistent nagging of your maternal instinct, but they’re hugely important to your life. So, with that in mind, there is one more question to consider.
Am I ready to have a baby because I feel ready?
We’re the first ones to assure you that you may never feel 100% ready. During pregnancy, after pregnancy, and quite possibly when you feel that first contraction, everything inside your head might be hollering ‘I’m not ready!’
The most important lesson: don’t worry. We know, as mothers ourselves, that you will be equipped to handle motherhood if you’re prepared in all the ways we’ve covered here and you feel ready (or ready-ish). We hope this pregnancy checklist helped you get your head around preparing for pregnancy. In our next blog, we delve deeper into the physical considerations of fertility, vitamins, vaccinations and planning to get pregnant. If you have any questions, we’d love to help.
O&G is a team of obstetricians, gynaecologists and women’s health professionals based in Adelaide, Australia. However, the information in this blog is not a substitute for personal medical advice. We designed it to prepare and guide you, not take the place of a consultation. Always talk to your doctor or call O&G to arrange an appointment.