With my pregnancies, because they were planned, I started “prepping my body” 3 months before I expected to become pregnant. The extent of pre-pregnancy prep you choose to do is ultimately affected by what physical/financial/emotional shape you are in when you begin planning to have a baby. For me, I considered a number of factors, and put a plan in place to reach a certain stage in each area before getting pregnant. Here is what I did:
I wanted to be at an “ideal weight” prior to getting pregnant. As a healthcare professional, I’d studied fertility and so I advised patients to attempt reach their ideal weights before getting pregnant as well. When it was my turn, I really wanted as much "weight gain cushion" as possible- meaning I wanted to start at a lower weight, knowing that not only would I gain weight during pregnancy, but that being at an ideal weight range increases the chance of getting pregnant. I set out on a plan to lose 10 pounds during my “count-down to pregnancy” which included exercise (try a walking plan, or the couch to 5k app if you are new to exercise) and healthy eating (I used the “MyFitness Pal” App to track my calories during that time). I also began taking prenatal vitamins, and scheduled a prenatal check up. Try it out!
I love financial planning. Love it. It makes me just as happy as hearing my kids laugh. Ok…almost as happy. There is so much to consider, financially, prior to having a little one. Ultimately, children are only as expensive as you allow them to be (even though public media would lead you to believe they are un-affordable). Choices you make on baby purchases are one thing, but another consideration has to do with risk management. In other words, life insurance, disability insurance and an emergency fund are key considerations prior to entering parenthood. I would definitely pay attention to debt pay off as well. The bad news is that most of this stuff is boring to many people, and even a little overwhelming. The good news is that there are SO MANY RESOURCES, that you can really develop your own financial plan. If you need to get started, click here to get my Financial Head Start PDF for free.
It’s time to get your mind right. The challenges and the rewards of parenthood are so real that you almost enter into a separate league once you have children. It takes having one (whether by childbearing or adoption or foster parenting, etc.), to really understand how much energy and effort is needed to be good at parenting. It is like many other endeavors, where you can put in your all, and see great outcomes, but the nature of having someone rely on you wholly is unlike any other relationship in life. It is best to be emotionally prepared (committed, aware, in-tune, surrounded by resources for guidance) if you want to transition easily in to being a super parent.