Are you the type of person who likes to work from a to-do list? Lists are very effective for many people and for many things—and conception and pregnancy are no exceptions.
Here are five things to add to your pre-conception checklist:
1. Create a baby budget.
Nothing could be worse than finding that you have spent all of your money on diapers, and now you cannot afford formula. Unfortunately, this happens to some parents who are on a tight budget already and did not plan well enough for the baby on the way. If you do not have a solid savings account now, it is time to start one. Also, create a comprehensive budget that includes everything the baby will need, such as diapers, formula (if you are not breastfeeding), clothing, and baby gear. You should know approximately how much you will spend each month on your baby.
2. Discuss parenting styles with your partner.
Will you both be strict parents? Are you okay with spanking or do you think it borders on child abuse? Get on the same page with as many of the details as you can before the baby comes. This way, you can present one unified front when unexpected things occur. Disagreements on parenting styles can cause major rifts in a relationship, and they can also create confusion for the child.
3. Implement a diet and exercise plan.
Get your body physically ready for conception with a healthy diet and exercise plan. Your body should be healthy enough to supply all of the nutrients your growing baby will need, and your muscles should be strong enough to carry around the extra baby weight. Exercise also increases blood flow, which is how your baby will get his or her nutrients and oxygen throughout your pregnancy.
4. Stock up on pregnancy tests.
It is possible that you will conceive within your first cycle, but this does not always happen. Even if you do, it is good to have more than one pregnancy test on hand. When you get that Big Fat Positive (BFP) on the first pregnancy test, you will probably want to confirm it with a second or third test (although, this usually is not necessary). You should also know that even if you are pregnant, there is a chance that you may not get a BFP on the first pregnancy test.
5. Get a complete physical.
Before you try to conceive, make sure you are healthy enough for pregnancy. Get a standard physical, but let your doctor know that you are getting ready to start a family. He or she will likely have some dietary and lifestyle changes to recommend and a few tests to run to ensure there are no underlying issues that should be addressed before you get pregnant. Also, plan a visit to your gynecologist to discuss your plans. He or she will give you a full pelvic exam if it is time and talk to you about your planned pregnancy.