While starting a family is often the next step to take as a recently married couple, it’s not a decision to be made on the whim — especially since once your bundle arrives, there’s a no return policy.
You’ll risk underestimating the costs and impact a baby has on your relationship if you don’t give come to your decision with careful thought or planning. The world is filled with uncertainty – jobs can be unstable and healthcare costs are high, so careful planning is essential! Check that you fulfil these requirements:
1) Decide if having a baby is what you both want
If you have recently just went through a big change in your life — for instance getting a new job, a new house or getting married — you may want to settle in first before you decide on trying to conceive.
No doubt having a kid can draw the both of you closer as a couple, juggling too many things on your to-do list at once only increases the risk of conflicts between you and your spouse. It helps to start a “pre-baby” bucket list and fill it with activities to do with your partner before you both start to have a baby. Things like eating at a fancy restaurant or taking a ride on a death-defying theme park attraction can be difficult to do when you have a baby or toddler to care for.
While it’s not possible to set aside money for all your child care needs, reviewing your financial situation allows you to decide if you need any financial assistance.
It is also important to speak openly and honestly about your thoughts and motivations on choosing to have a child. If you don’t see eye-to-eye on this matter for whatever reason, you should hold off on making a decision. Nor should you be pressuring — or worse, resorting to emotional blackmail — to force each other to make a decision to have children when either party isn’t ready.
2) Take stock of your finances
Starting a family in Singapore isn’t cheap. Everything from preconception tests, to visits to your gynae during your pregnancy to delivery and labour and buying baby care necessities, the bills will pile up and so will the financial stress of providing for your family.
While it’s not possible to set aside money for all your child care needs, reviewing your financial situation allows you to decide if you need any financial assistance. Remember to factor in the cost of delivery in Singapore.
Having said that, be sure to check out the baby bonus website to learn which benefits apply to you. These may include:
* The Medisave Maternity Package which covers up to $900 for pre-delivery expenses such as pre-natal consultations, ultrasound scans and medication.
* The Medisave for Assisted Conception Procedures which covers up to $6,000 for the first cycle of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intra-uterine insemination procedures.
* The Enhanced Baby Bonus Scheme which includes a cash gift of $8,000 for your first and second child and $10,000 for your third and fourth child and so on.
3) Decide if you’re ready to put your career on the backburner
Once baby comes along, your priorities will change. This is likely especially if you’re planning to care for your kewpie without any additional help from your parents, in-laws or a domestic helper. Can your savings weather such a change?
4) Go for preconception tests
Many public and private hospitals offer comprehensive tests to detect and advice how you can lower your chances of experiencing a complicated pregnancy or infertility. SmartParents expert and Gleneagles Hospital Ob-Gyn, Dr Christopher Chong emphasises preconception tests are different from those carried out after the couple has tried but failed to conceive. “Most people do not do these tests until they are planning or ready to have a baby.”
Dr Chong points out that both men and women can approach their gynae to enquire about doing a general pre-conception assessment. Some of these standardised tests include:
* A blood pressure test,
* Full blood count tests to assess for anaemia and thalassemia,
* Tests to assess for medical conditions such as for the thyroid function,
* Assessment for the likelihood of inheriting genetic medical conditions,
* HIV and AIDS screening
In general, these tests cost less than $200 and the results will be out in a day or two, Dr Chong adds.
Many public and private hospitals offer comprehensive tests to detect and advice how you can lower your chances of experiencing a complicated pregnancy or infertility.
5) Make better lifestyle choices
Making it a point to get in some regular exercise helps you to deal with stress and get in shape while enhancing your sex drive. But all that physical activity won’t do you any good if you continue to abuse your body by consuming an unhealthy diet.
Being under- or overweight affects your fertility as a couple and increases your risk of suffering a miscarriage. So, make sure to switch to consuming a balanced diet which includes meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruits. Avoid abusing drugs and excessive smoking or drinking alcohol will also enhance your chances of conceiving, too.
6) Figure out when you’re ovulating
If you have made your decision to get pregnant, figuring out your body’s ovulation patterns beforehand helps you avoid turning baby-making sex into a chore. Choose from a wide variety of smartphone applications, ovulation kits or simply use this chart to keep track of your menstrual cycle. Then, at about two days before and after ovulation — for a period of five days — you should have sex daily.
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