Planning Ahead for Pregnancy

KEY POINTS

  • Planning your pregnancy means thinking about what it means to have a baby and making decisions with your partner about your family. 

  • Planning for pregnancy isn’t just about being physically prepared.  You can also think about being prepared for lifestyle and financial changes. 

  • Think about how many children you want and when you want to have them. Talk about these things with your partner. 

Why is planning your pregnancy important?

Planning your pregnancy can help you have a healthy baby.  If you’re planning to have a baby, you’re more likely to get healthy before you get pregnant and to get early and regular prenatal care during pregnancy.  A great way to get started is to get a preconception checkup for your physical health.  But there are other things to think about too while planning for pregnancy.  


How do you plan your pregnancy?

Make a reproductive life plan. This means thinking about if and when you want to have a baby. It may also mean thinking about using birth control to wait until you’re ready for a baby.  You may ask yourself:

  • 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 having sex and don’t want a baby now, how can I keep from getting pregnant?

Talk to your partner about your reproductive life plan before you get pregnant.  

Are you ready to be a parent?

Your life changes when you become a parent. Talk to your partner to make sure you’re both ready for your lives to be different. You may ask yourselves:

  • Why do you want to have a baby? Do you feel pressure to have a baby? Does one of you want to have a baby more than the other? Do you both think you’ll like being parents?
  • How will your relationship with your partner change when you have a baby?
  • How does having a baby affect your work or school?
  • What will you do for child care?
  • Do you have religious or cultural traditions that you want to share with your child? Do you and your partner agree on these traditions?
  • Are you ready to take care of a baby who may be sick or have special needs?
  • Are you ready to have less money and free time for yourself?


If you don’t have a partner, ask yourself these questions to see if you’re ready to be a parent on your own.

Are you financially ready for a baby?

Babies can cost a lot of money from diapers to childcare to medical care! Here’s what you can do to help you think about how a baby may affect your finances:
 

  • Make a budget. Write down how much you make and what you spend each month on your home, car, food, clothes, medical care and other bills. How much is left after you pay your bills?
  • Start saving. Think about how much childcare and baby things cost and try to save that amount of money each month.
  • Shop smart. Some baby things may need to be new, but you can buy some used or borrow from friends and family. Make sure things like car seats and cribs meet current safety standards.  Visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to learn about product safety standards and product recalls.
  • Know your health insurance. Find out what your health insurance covers before pregnancy and during pregnancy. If you’re choosing an insurance plan, think about what medical services and care you need now and if you get pregnant or have a baby.
  • Explore your maternity and paternity leave. If you or your partner works, find out about parental leave or your work’s policy for time off from work after your baby's birth.
  • Plan for long-term issues. Consider a plan for life insurance, long-term disability insurance, and a will in case of emergencies in the future to protect your future family