Are you ready — emotionally, mentally — for a baby?

Beyond calculating the best time for bedroom activities, you need to get ready to rearrange your lives to include your child. Read our story for our five tips on getting ready to have a baby.

Conceiving-Are-you-ready-emotionally-mentally-for-a-baby

In 2010, after 11 failed rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and a miscarriage, Michelle Jones-White, then 37, had an “ah ha” moment while waiting for her next fertility appointment. She realised that no amount of medical help was going to help her conceive if her body wasn’t ready for it.

             “I decided I had to change my lifestyle and be at a good place, health-wise, before having a baby,” she says.

             She did this by concentrating on eating fish and vegetables and exercising regularly, underwent hypnosis and acupuncture to de-stress and boost her blood circulation. Within three months, she had dropped 5kg and, feeling fighting fit, went on to conceive successfully after just one session of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) four months later.

            It’s not just a matter of having sex to get pregnant; planning for a baby includes taking stock of your life, like Jones-White, and facing the changes that will come. We talked to Frances Yeo, a psychologist with Thomson Paediatric Centre, about assessing the habits that you and your husband have developed, and see what may need to change…

1) Brush up your healthy lifestyle habits

In their book Making Babies: A Proven 3-month Program For Maximum Fertility, authors Dr Sami David (the first doctor to successfully perform IVF in New York) and Jill Blakeway (an acupuncturist and herbalist) urge women to look at the three months leading up to conception. They refer to this “pre-mester” period as the most crucial time, because the state of your body at this point can greatly affect your fertility and eventual pregnancy.

            You will need to boost your consumption of healthy foods, vitamins, while reducing alcohol and caffeine intake — and stop smoking. Plus, says Yeo, “If your spouse smokes, it may be a good time to talk to him about stopping!” The American Pregnancy Association warns that even second-hand smoke is highly detrimental to you and baby. Conditions associated with it are miscarriage, low birthweight for the baby, early birth, learning or behavioural deficiencies in your baby and higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

2) Prepare to manage your emotions better

Pregnancy is an emotional journey: Being pregnant can give you feelings of excitement, joy; but sometimes anxiety and depression sneak up on you. Yeo says, “About one in five pregnant women here is likely to have significant depressive symptoms.” This could lead to impaired daily function; furthermore, women who have depression during pregnancy are more likely to develop post-natal depression, something that threatens your responsiveness to baby.

            Talking to your spouse about your feelings, recognising that you are feeling stressed and taking time to de-stress are crucial to help you cope with strong emotions. Another source of comfort and support would be your family and friends. Last but not least, consider talking to your doctor or a counsellor.

3) Assess your lifestyle

Many couples are afraid of the lifestyle changes that they will need to make when they have children. “While having a new baby in your life means changes, it shouldn’t mean giving up everything you used to enjoy,” says Yeo. “More planning will be required and you will probably need to make more of an effort to plan things like meeting your friends, going for movies, shopping and dates with your spouse.”

            Taking care of yourself becomes very important as this helps to reduce stress from taking care of your baby. So prepare a list of outings/“me time” activities that you can schedule into your life — and prep your parents, other family members, as well as your friends, for babysitting periods that will give you time.

Read on for the most important discussion you must have with your husband…