Planning your pregnancy

Are you thinking about having a baby someday? If you’re not pregnant yet, the best thing you can do for your future baby is to plan ahead.

Planning your pregnancy means thinking about what it means to have a baby and making decisions with your partner about your future family. Are you ready to be parents now? Or do you want to wait a while?  

Your life changes in lots of ways during pregnancy and after you bring your baby home. Planning for these changes can make things easier for you and your partner as you start your family.

Why is planning your pregnancy important?

Planning your pregnancy can help you have a healthy baby. More than half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. This means that lots of women may get pregnant without really being ready for it.

Babies who are planned are more likely to be born healthy than babies who are unplanned. This is because women who plan their pregnancies are more likely to get healthy before pregnancy. And they’re more likely to get early and regular prenatal care during pregnancy. Doing these things can help you have a healthy baby.

How can you plan your pregnancy?

Use these tips to help plan your pregnancy:

Make a reproductive life plan. This means thinking about if and when you want to have a baby. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many children do I want?
  • How far apart do I want them to be?
  • How can I get healthy before pregnancy?
  • If I’m sexually active and don’t want a baby now, how can I keep from getting pregnant?

    Talk about your reproductive life plan with your partner. You may not agree on every answer, so you may need some time to figure things out. There are no right or wrong answers. And your answers may change as you get older. The important thing is to really think about your plan and your family before you get pregnant.

    Use birth control until you’re ready to get pregnant. If you’re sexually active and not ready to get pregnant right away, use birth control. Ask your health care provider about the best kind of birth control for you and your partner.

    Think about what it’s like to be a good parent. Being a parent is a big job. Talk to your partner to find out if you’re both ready to have a baby. It’s helpful if you can agree on important things, like child care and giving up some of your free time, before you get pregnant.

    Budget for your baby. Having a baby can be expensive. Do you have enough money to pay for things, like child care and diapers? Do you have health insurance that helps pay for medical care? It’s a good idea to figure out how a baby can affect your finances before you get pregnant.

    Are you emotionally ready for a baby?

    To help you find out if you're emotionally ready for a baby, ask yourself these 10 questions: 

    1. Why do you want to have a baby?
    2. Are you and your partner ready for the changes that having a baby can have on your relationship?
    3. If you’re not in a relationship, are you prepared to raise a child alone? 
    4. How will a baby affect your education or career plans? 
    5. Have you and your partner talked about how you'll handle any religious or ethnic differences when raising your child? 
    6. What will you do for child care? 
    7. Are you prepared to parent a child who is sick or has special needs? 
    8. Are you ready to have less free time for yourself? 
    9. Can you see yourself enjoying your time as a parent? 
    10. What do you want for your baby's childhood that may have been missing from your childhood? 

      More information

      Last reviewed: September, 2014