The short answer?…no. The right time to have a baby is a very personal decision and is going to be influenced by many factors, but I’ve boiled it down to 4 key things you need to take into consideration if you’re wondering when the right time to have a baby is.
This one is pretty obvious. Having a baby is taxing on the body and if you’ve got time to plan ahead you’re going to want to be in the best shape you can be before getting pregnant.
If you’ve got a few pounds to lose now might be the time to get a plan together and really start working towards a healthy weight. Being overweight when pregnant can come with its own challenges and could make pregnancy more difficult for you and for your baby. Complications with birth are higher in overweight women, the risk of miscarriage is greater and your chance of getting gestational diabetes and other pregnancy-related illnesses is increased. Plus being overweight can even make it harder to conceive, so you may find it more difficult to get pregnant in the first place.
But the good news is that once you’ve decided when to have a baby, sticking to an exercise plan and eating healthier is much easier. You’ve got the ultimate motivation, each time you want to pig out and eat junk food or grab a Maccies, just remember why you’re committed to being healthy and imagine holding your baby in your arms.
Being a healthy weight before pregnancy isn’t just for looks, or even your health, it’s also pretty practical too. Babies might not move around much at least until they’re crawling and then walking, but once they are, are you fit enough to keep up with them? Are you able to pick up 26lbs (a toddler) from the floor 50 times a day?
If you’ve built some healthy eating and exercise habits into your life before pregnancy it may be much easier for you to recover after you’ve had a baby and get back into a healthy active lifestyle.
This was an important motivator for me. Over the last 12 months or so I gained almost a stone (thank you lockdown!) and I realised that if I want to be the active, healthy mum I want to be I need to focus on losing some pounds and getting fitter before I have a 10lb beach ball for a tummy.
Being Underweight can also put you at risk
It’s also important that you’re not underweight when trying for a baby and in pregnancy. Being very underweight can cause huge complications with pregnancy and can increase the chance of miscarriage. It can also have a big impact on your baby’s development during pregnancy. If you’re struggling with your weight or an eating disorder, reach out to your doctor, they’ll be able to make sure you get the right support for you.
You also need to think about how pregnancy will affect any long term medical conditions you have. The best person to speak to here again is your doctor. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have regarding your personal health and may be able to alter your medication if it’s not safe to take during pregnancy.
I’m going to do a full post on health, diet and what vitamins you should be taking preconception. So, keep an eye out for that soon!
The next important thing you need to think about when deciding when the right time to have a baby is, is your finances. Obviously bringing a human into the world is going to involve some expense. Just how much you spend during pregnancy and birth is going to depend on where you live and how much ‘stuff’ you buy (hint: babies don’t actually need all the ‘essentials’ we’re told they need by random bloggers). I live in the UK and we’re lucky enough to have the NHS. So when we have kids we won’t be paying for doctors visits or hospital births. But I know that’s not the case in a lot of countries and you may want to start budgeting and saving for those expenses before you’re pregnant to make sure it doesn’t put you into a difficult financial situation.
If you’re in debt and wondering if now is the right time to have a baby be sure to watch this video where I go over how to manage debt before you have a baby.
Do your research
It’s important to do your own research so you have a real idea of how much you’re going to need to spend in your babies first year and whilst you’re pregnant. Go look at the price of a few maternity pieces, a crib and nappies. You’ll probably see that they’re not as expensive as you first thought. So long as you’re not dead set on getting designer clothes or big brand baby furniture, you could get everything you need for less than £1000. Especially if you’re able to get some things second hand and lightly used (consider seeing if friends or family have any baby furniture, toys or clothes their little ones no longer need).
I was shocked when I did my own research into the price of nappies. All the blogs I read and videos I watched suggested that we’d be spending £1000s on nappies in baby’s first year alone. So when I went to my local supermarket I popped down the baby aisle to have a look for myself. Tesco own nappies for newborns cost just 4p per nappy. Big brands such as pampers were about 21p per nappy. So, let’s do some quick maths:
According to professor Google, babies will need on average 8 changes a day for their first year –
8 x 365 = 2920 nappies in 1 year
2920 x 4p = £116.80 (cheap brand)
2920 x 21p = £613.20 (premium brand)
That’s a long way away from the projected £1000s! Even if you buy a fancier brand. But for the sake of thoroughness and for our American readers, I checked the price of nappies from Walmart. A pack of nappies from Walmart costs about 10cents per diaper (7p).
2920 x 7p = £204.40 ($282)
I’ll do a full post on babies and finances very soon, so keep an eye on the blog!
Mental Health / Mindset
I may not be a parent yet, but even I know that babies are stressful. Having a baby comes with sleepless nights, tantrums and a hundred other things you can’t predict or control. So, it’s vital that you know what you’re getting yourself into and that you’ve got a solid mindset and relaxation techniques that work for you to fall back on when times get tough.
Take some time to figure out what you like to do. Give yourself permission to relax and do something fun, either by yourself or with your partner. That could be meditating, taking a bath, going for a walk, reading a book or having coffee with a friend. Whatever makes you feel present and renewed. For me I love to be creative, painting and drawing puts me in a zone where nothing else matters, I’m 100% focused and when I’m done I have so much more energy. It’s my version of meditating.
It’s natural to feel anxious about the conception journey, pregnancy or birth. I know I’m super anxious and have 100s of questions. But remember to take a few breaths, ground yourself and remind yourself that it will be okay. If you’re anxious because you don’t know something, you can get the information. If your anxious because everything feels like it’s out of your control, there’s exercises you can do to help you with that. Follow me on my YouTube channel where I’ll be sharing my preconception journey, answering some of the big questions, and sharing tips and tricks to dealing with preconception anxiety.
If you’re feeling super stressed before you have kids – maybe you have a job you hate and you find the environment you work in toxic, maybe you’re in debt, or maybe the global pandemic has you on edge, then maybe trying to get pregnant right now is not the best choice. You might need to get on top of your thoughts and emotions before adding a baby into the mix.
This all goes for your partner too, make sure you’re both on the same page and mentally ready to become parents.
Mind.org.uk is a great charity which can support you with your mental health.
I also love the app Calm, it has guided meditations and things you can listen to in order to relax and sleep more deeply.
It goes without saying that if you want to start trying for a baby, you and your partner need to be on the same page. You have to have ‘that talk’. Pick a time when you’re both calm and relaxed, definitely don’t do this drunk, and chat it out.
If your partner is ready to have kids, he’ll say so. If he’s not, don’t fret, just respectfully ask him why he feels that way. If he has questions or worries try to answer them and come up with solutions together. Men often take longer to come round to the idea of starting a family than women do, so be patient but make sure he knows your point of view too.
Never just assume he’s ready to have kids just because he can spend hours playing with his little niece or nephew, unlike those kids, when you have your own they’re a 24/7 job and you can’t just give them back when they throw a tantrum in the middle of the supermarket.
You may need to discuss finances with your partner, it’s important that you do your research here so you both know what to expect and have a plan for how you’re going to budget when baby gets here. Are you going to be a stay at home mum? Will you work from home or set up your own business so you can continue to bring in an income? Your plans may change after baby arrives but by discussing these things with your partner before trying for a baby and making a plan/budget, you could save yourself a lot of stress and panic.
You should also consider your partner’s health, do they have any long term medical conditions that could affect their fertility? You may want to start trying sooner rather than later if low fertility is a concern for you. Again you may want to discuss this with a doctor to get the best advice.
So to recap
- Are you in good health? How would getting pregnant and having a baby affect your physical wellbeing? Do you need to make some changes to your lifestyle before you bring a baby into the world?
- Can you afford to have a baby? Do you know how much basic baby furniture costs? Will you be able to afford nappies and other essentials? Have you discussed a budget with your partner and how you’re going to pay the bills once baby arrives and you might be on a lower income?
- How’s your mental health? Do you have relation techniques that work for you? Do you practice self-care to build your resilience? Do you need to make any major changes in your life such as a job change to reduce stress?
- Is your partner ready to have kids? Has he said the words ‘yes, I think we should start trying’?
Don’t forget you can follow my preconception/pregnancy journey on YouTube, here’s the link to my channel.
Let me know in the comments below what thoughts, questions or anxieties you have about preconception and trying to conceive (TTC)!