Pregnancy Planning – Are you thinking about having a baby?

Pregnancy Planning

Planning for a baby and getting ready for pregnancy is perhaps the biggest life-changing step you are ever going to make. If you have a baby on the mind, then it probably means you are at the stage in your marriage and life where you are ready to take the plunge. You are thinking about starting a family soon, then it probably also means that you are mentally prepared to take your life and relationship to a whole new level. But now that you are mentally prepared is your body really prepared to take the big step? Let me tell you this while the decision of having a baby can be frightening overwhelming, having the right information can save you from a bumpy ride and make the journey rather smooth.

Creating and growing a life inside you takes a great deal of responsibility on the mother’s part. A mother needs to provide the unborn baby with a healthy environment required for its healthy growth and development. So let me share with you how I prepared myself and embarked on this beautiful journey.

Getting ready for a baby!

The 3 key steps in planning for a pregnancy involve:

1) Preparing your mind for pregnancy

As I already said, being ready mentally marks the first and the biggest step towards starting a family. Having a child, without a doubt, is a lifetime commitment and calls for responsibility on the part of both the partners. So it’s time you thought it through. If either of the partners is unsure or having second thoughts about it, it’s important to reconsider your decision. Having a baby should be a mutual decision involving the consent of both the partners and both should be equally committed to being parents. Therefore, it is very important to have an honest discussion and be open about each other’s thoughts on having a child. Neither should you force or get pressurized yourself or even resort to emotional blackmailing and stuff. If both partners aren’t unanimous over the decision, it is best to hold it off for some time.

2) Preparing yourself financially

Starting a family also calls for considering your money matters. Prenatal checkups, prenatal vitamins, medicines, tests, procedures and other medical bills can account for a major part of your salary. So it is best to be prepared for it beforehand so as not to put an unnecessary delay on anything. Opting for a good health insurance (if not already) is always a good bet to cover your prenatal expenses and lift some of the financial load off your shoulders.

3) Preparing your body for pregnancy

So now that you are mentally and financially ready, it’s time to take the next big step which is getting your body ready for the life that you are going to grow inside you. Here’s how you can do that:

(a) Scheduling a pre-conception visit

Visiting a good gynaecologist from the very beginning is a good idea to start a healthy pregnancy. A pre-conception check-up involves reviewing your personal and family medical history by your doctor. The practitioner will take a detailed account of your personal health, any kind of medication you’re taking which may be unsafe for the pregnancy and also about any unhealthy habit you have, such as smoking, drinking, etc. She would discuss with you about the tests and immunization which need to be done and also recommend you prenatal vitamins. Choosing a good and trusting doctor plays a key role in planning for a baby because only a good and experienced doctor can make you at ease and guide you properly through your journey.

(b) Starting on prenatal vitamins

Ideally, it’s said that starting on a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) a day, 6 months before you plan on conceiving is very crucial to carry a healthy pregnancy. But if not started earlier, at least 1 month prior to conceiving is a must. This not only prepares your body for conception but also prevents your baby from having certain birth defects, including a neural-tube defect like spina bifida to a great extent.

(c) Following a healthy lifestyle

Since you are trying to conceive and nurture a life inside you it is utmost important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s time you stopped your unhealthy habits such as smoking or drinking, cut short your caffeine intake, and check binging on junk food. Instead, it would be great if you started making healthy and nutritious food choices very early in your journey so that your body gets packed with the necessary nutrients you need to sustain a healthy pregnancy. Try to incorporate a balanced amount of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk and milk products in your diet. If you are a non-vegetarian intake of eggs, poultry, meat and fish are also a great choice. But it should be borne in mind that milk, meat and fish should come from a pasteurized source, disease-free animals and non-contaminated water respectively. You should also give doing yoga and/or moderate exercise a thought for a well-rounded fitness and a healthy body. You should also avoid working in a hazardous and unhygienic environment to avoid infections.

(d) Trying actively and tracking your cycles

If you are on birth control pills it’s time to stop those and bid adieu to any other kind of contraception you might have been using, and actively try (meaning every other day). Women on pills may take a month or two before they start ovulating again. Although some would prefer a more calculated approach of keeping a track of the ovulation dates and fertile window, I suggest it’s best to actively involve every other day if your cycles are sporadic just like mine. While keeping a record of your cycles is equally important to get a clear picture of your fertility days, doing it every other day increases your chances of conceiving. But it does not mean you have to mechanically do it. It should involve love and passion and you should enjoy it. It isn’t called “lovemaking” for no reason.

(e) Aiming for a healthy weight

Women with a higher or lower body mass index (BMI) may find it a little difficult to conceive. Starting off with a healthy weight right from the beginning not only helps you in conceiving more easily, but it also helps you to avoid weight-related complications in pregnancy and prevent you from delivering a premature or an underweight baby. Women with higher weight are also associated with risks of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, etc. So weight goals should be kept at aim right from the start.

(f) Keeping updated on immunization and vaccinations

It would be a plus point if you are updated on your immunization of flu shots, chicken pox, rubella (German measles) etc. It would help to avoid any complications during pregnancy which might lead to miscarriage, birth defects or stillbirth.

So these are some of my experiences and learning which I am happy to share in the hope to guide you and prove helpful in your journey towards a happy and healthy pregnancy. Making a right start at the right time can help you get the right results. But make sure to follow and maintain the same healthy lifestyle during as well as post-pregnancy. This is the second post of my pregnancy series. Don’t forget to read my previous post on Discovering being pregnant with those “two pink lines”.


Mrs. Sunshine

Do you have a baby in mind?

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This day that year – Discovering being pregnant with those “two pink lines”!

Those “Two Pink Lines” – Discovering I was pregnant!

It was 24th March of the year 2016. It was Holi – the Indian festival of colours and this time I was to celebrate the festival with Mr. Husband after 2 years. But I wasn’t sure if I was keen for the celebrations because, since past few days I had not quite been feeling normal with fuller achy breasts, bloated tummy and the urge to urinate frequently. These are the typical pregnancy symptoms, right? But these symptoms had long ceased to interest me over the years of countless failed attempts to get pregnant.

Very early in the morning, when Mr. Husband was still sound asleep, I sat up and mechanically taking a home pregnancy test from the drawer I sneaked my way into the toilet. I very distinctly remember that historic day. It was very early in the morning, the sun hadn’t risen yet. There was just the pink sky before the sunrise and the morning birds had only begun to chirp. For the years that I had been trying, I had watched the urine reach the other end without batting an eyelid, waiting eagerly for the result – each time more hopeful and excited than the previous. But this time, as I sat on the toilet pan, unmindful of the process, the last 4 years of struggle, hope and faith started to unfold and flash before my eyes.

For the past 4 years, it had become a routine that whenever we were together and I missed my periods, even for 2 days, I would religiously take a home pregnancy test in the hope that this time it comes positive. I would keep looking at the test with my eyes wide open until the test completed only to see the white evaporation line each time, and that solid pink control line mocking me. But unfortunately in our 4 years of marriage, and amidst I don’t know how many pregnancy tests (I had lost count of), I hadn’t had one single test positive. It wasn’t that we were trying throughout, but we weren’t “not trying” either. Initially, my mother would just give hidden cues, but now even she had started to talk about it openly and directly. It had been so long now that not only people, but even I had begun to question my fertility and almost convinced that something was definitely wrong with me. Many a time even the thought of adopting a child had crossed my mind.

I had watched close friends who married after we did become parents. Some of them became parents even before they celebrated their first marriage anniversary. Nobody had ever pressurized me about the matter, not even my in-laws. Mr. Husband had also been understanding and supportive throughout, but his silence spoke volumes about his desire and disappointment. It had all begun to grow on me and I was becoming desperate. So much so, that I spent most of my time endlessly reading pregnancy related articles on the internet, obsessively tracking my cycles keeping tabs of my fertile window and active days, and absently wishing to be pregnant. And the pressure inside me kept building.

Being a Virgo I have a habit of planning everything beforehand, and even before I got married, I already had a list of names of babies with me. I had even thought about the innovative ways I would break the news with family, friends and Mr. Husband, of course – a different way for each one. I had planned it all. Now all I needed was to be pregnant, and that was the one thing that wasn’t happening for us. Pregnancy still remained a lost dream.

My periods have always been irregular so tracking didn’t help much; but still, I kept on tracking it to maintain my sanity intact and in the hope that I might be lucky to get one cycle right. So, though I was more than a week late and was feeling a bit off I did not suspect a thing. And looking at my past record of several negatives how could I? It had now become more of a routine.

Suddenly, with a thud sound, I was brought back to the present. As I came to my senses I realized it was the newspaper boy throwing the newspaper roll in the balcony. Without much interest, I carelessly looked back at the test that lay there at my foot waiting to be read. And as I looked at the test my eyes started to widen in amazement and I could feel my nervous heartbeats thumping hard against my chest. I rubbed my eyes to get a clearer look at it as I stood there with trembling hands and legs, gaping at the pale faint pink line, shimmering and dancing beside the dark pink of the control in front of my eyes. For an instant I was numb. I don’t know how long I stood there staring at it in surprise or shock (I still don’t recall). I was totally bewildered at the unexpected and unbelievable result. The sight of those “two pink lines” which seemed to smile at me exhilarated me to the core. I felt so alive on the spur of the moment that it couldn’t be described in words.

I was so thrilled that I remember even pinching myself to be sure if it was for real or I was having a dream. I wouldn’t have been shocked if it were a dream because getting pregnant had become so consuming that it had begun to haunt me. But not this time. I was so used to seeing the white nothingness of an evaporated line that those “two pink lines” amused me immeasurably. My happiness knew no bounds and it was getting difficult for me to control my emotions. After all those sleepless nights of wetting the pillow with silent tears and I don’t know after how many earnest prayers God had finally decided to shower us with His blessings.

I quickly gathered myself, washed my hands and joyously went to wake Mr. Husband up who was blissfully asleep, snoring away, still unaware of how our lives were going to change course. I had always imagined for this moment, devising several ways to surprise Mr. Husband with the “good news” and all I could do was wake him up to show him those “two pink lines” and say “Hey! You’re going to become a Dad!” (How cliché! I know). But in that glorious moment words did not matter, only feelings did. And it was overwhelmingly emotional. We hugged and rejoiced. Our lives were going to change forever, we knew it, only yet to discover it how.

And all of a sudden I was eager to celebrate Holi – the festival of colours because we got our “bundle of joy” as Holi gift. And as colourful this beautiful festival of colours is, we knew instantly that in a similar manner he is going to colour our lives with his amazing baby colours and give our lives a new meaning. And since that instant, our life canvas has been getting painted with the prettiest colours there could ever be.

This piece of writing marks the beginning and is the first in the series of pregnancy-related posts where I am going to share my pregnancy journey. Keep watching the space for more updates and interesting pieces.


Mrs. Sunshine

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