Deciding to have a baby
Choosing to start a family is a massive decision and it’s important to realise that having a baby is a lifelong commitment. The following guide will highlight things to think about when you are deciding whether or not to try for a baby.
Is my relationship suitable for bringing up a baby?
Having a baby is a long-term commitment, which requires a great deal of time, money and emotional devotion; a baby should not be seen as a means of patching up a broken relationship or a way of keeping hold of a partner. Studies have shown that children who grow up in a stable home are more likely to succeed at school and thrive in their social and professional lives further down the line. Children are very sensitive to what is going on around them and those who grow up in a household where arguments and even violence are commonplace, will undoubtedly be affected by what they see and hear during their childhood. Experts do not advise couples who are constantly rowing, use violence against each other or have no interest in staying together in the future to have a baby.
Talking to your partner
If you are thinking of having a baby, you should talk to your partner to make sure that they are on the same page and are also keen to have a baby. In many cases, one partner is ready to have a baby before the other and it may be advisable to wait a while if this is the case. Many young people who have babies feel a degree of resentment because they may feel like they are missing out on the early years of their adult life because they are raising a baby. If you are with somebody who is still very much in favour of living a lifestyle that involves regular partying and spending time with their friends rather than with you, you may want to wait to try for a baby. If you both agree that you want to try for a baby, you should discuss bringing up the baby together and try to go to antenatal classes and scans together so that you are both equally involved.
If you are thinking about having a baby it is also advisable to consider practical issues such as the environment in which you live and your financial situation; having a child is very expensive and there will be no let-up once they start to grow up. You also need to make sure you live in safe and secure surroundings so that your child has the best opportunity to develop into a healthy and happy child. You should also think about your health and lifestyle; once you have a child you and your partner will be advised to make sacrifices such as giving up smoking and cutting down on drinking; if you’re not ready to do this, it’s probably not the best time to think about having a baby.
Health checks and lifestyle changes
If you are thinking about trying for a baby, it is a good idea to visit your GP for a health check; it is also beneficial for your partner to do the same. During a pre conception health check, your doctor will ask you a series of questions about your diet, exercise regime and lifestyle so they can get an idea of your general health; they will also look at your medical records and ask you about any existing health conditions. During the test, your doctor will also look out for any potential risk factors, which could affect your ability to conceive, such as obesity and habits such as smoking or taking drugs.
You will also be asked about vaccinations; if you are not up to date with your vaccinations you may be given immunisations to ensure you are protected against harmful diseases. Most women who are planning to conceive are tested to see if they are immune to rubella, as this can cause serious problems for the developing foetus if the mother catches the infection; if you are not immune you will be given the injection and then asked to wait a period of time before you try to conceive.
If you have not had an STI test recently you will also be advised to have this test, as sexually transmitted infections can be very harmful for developing foetuses. Your partner will also be advised to have a test.
Your doctor may also discuss your eating and lifestyle habits with you during the check; they will advise you which foods to eat, which vitamins to take and what to avoid if you are trying for a baby. If you smoke or drink heavily, they may offer you advice or suggest you go on a course or join a help group to help you give up.
If you are having trouble conceiving then you should also pay a visit to your doctor; they will be able to carry out tests and discuss your lifestyle, general health and sexual habits with you to try and determine the cause of the problems.
- Getting Pregnant FAQ
- How long will it take to get pregnant?
- How can I prepare my body for pregnancy?
- How can I calculate my ovulation dates?
- How can I increase my chances of conceiving?
- Why is it taking so long to get pregnant?
- When should I take a pregnancy test?
- My pregnancy test was negative, but I have still not had my period. Could I still be pregnant?
- Are some baby-making positions better than others for conceiving?
- When is the best time to have intercourse when trying to conceive?
- If my periods are Irregular will it be harder for me to get pregnant?
Getting Pregnant Guide
- Pregnancy & Birth Guide
- Getting Pregnant
- Deciding to have a baby
- Preparing for Pregnancy
- Sexual positions to promote conception
- Timing baby-making
- Products to promote conception
- Time it takes to get pregnant
- How long does it take to get pregnant?
- The quick guide to a well-planned pregnancy
- Teenage Pregnancy
- What they don’t tell you about pregnancy
- Myths about Getting Pregnant
- Choosing a Doctor or Midwife
- Rights for parents during pregnancy
- Pregnancy: Private or NHS?
- Getting Pregnant FAQ
- Pregnancy & Birth Guide
- Guide to Getting Pregnant
- Guide to Pregnancy
- Guide to Giving Birth
- Guide to Pregnancy Tests
- Mother, Baby & Beyond Guide
- Guide to Pain Relief in Labour
- Guide to pregnancy scans
- Pregnancy calendar guide
- Baby calendar guide
- Child development calendar guide
- Guide to miscarriage
- Guide to breastfeeding
- Guide to sleeping for mother & baby
- Guide to birth defects
- Guide to Post Natal depression