Carefully considered family planning allows partners a great deal of empowerment and freedom as they decide when to conceive and when to avoid conception. Many women have at least one pregnancy in their lives, yet about half of all pregnancies aren’t planned.
With the rise in contraceptive choices, women have more control than ever over when they wish to conceive. Wise family planning can help you avoid pregnancy until you’re ready, as well as ensure that you truly are ready when you and your partner want a child. There are many elements to consider when family planning, and each deserves careful attention.
- Effective and Convenient Contraception
At the foundation of wise family planning, you must have an effective birth control option in place that works for you and your lifestyle. Family planning hinges on the use of a working contraceptive that allows you to avoid pregnancy until you’re ready. With so many new options on the market, your choices go beyond just the standard daily pill. Consult with your doctor about which form of birth control is right for you.
- Reproductive Health
Both before and after you’re ready to conceive, it’s wise to evaluate your and your partner’s reproductive health. Unfortunately, some couples decide that they’re ready to start a family, only to learn that they may have issues with their fertility. Approximately 12% of women in the U.S. struggle to conceive or carry a baby to term. Meet with your fertility doctor to evaluate whether your reproductive systems are doing their jobs correctly or if there may be any complications in your efforts to conceive.
- Emotional and Relational Health
Another factor to consider when deciding when to bring a child into your home is your emotional health, as well as your partner’s. The added pressures of pregnancy and a new baby can enhance existing emotional issues, so have a candid discussion with your partner about whether you both feel ready to take on this new challenge. If you unearth unresolved tensions, consider seeing a counselor to help you work toward healthier emotions and interactions before your baby arrives.
- Physical Health
Pregnancy certainly takes its toll on a woman’s body, and another element to evaluate as you decide when to start a family is your own health. Are you satisfied with your nutritional habits? Do you need to be more active? Do you struggle to have enough energy on a regular basis? Setting good habits before you’re ready to conceive can reap bountiful rewards of good health for you and your family when you do try to become pregnant.
- Financial Situation
Bringing a child into the world comes with a lot of extra expenses. Not only that, but you may also choose to change your job situation once you have a baby. Between medical expenses, baby supplies, housing, life insurance, career options, and childcare, there are a lot of decisions to be made. You and your partner may wish to meet with a financial advisor, even long before you wish to become pregnant, to make sure you’re on the right track toward a healthy situation for your family.
- Lifestyle Changes
Adding a child to your family can significantly alter your lifestyle. From the beginning of pregnancy, which brings physical and dietary restrictions, to life with a newborn, which can often bring a lack of sleep, your life will certainly never be the same. These changes can bring both great joy and great sacrifice. Be willing to ask yourself and your partner what elements of your current lifestyle are nonnegotiable and what you’re willing to change if a new baby enters the mix.
- Your Desires
Everything could look right on paper, but most importantly, perhaps, is what you and your partner truly want. Are you thinking about starting a family simply because you feel pressure from people around you? Are you delaying starting a family out of fear of the unknown? At the end of the day, only you and your partner can truly decide when is the best time to start a family. There are many factors to consider that can aid you in making a better choice, but be sure to listen to your own desires as you come to a decision.
There are so many factors that go into family planning, but central to any of these elements is making sure that you have an effective contraceptive so you can have control over your plans. If you’ve never considered these factors, discuss them with your partner so you’re on the same page about timing. The process of building a family can bring a lot of joy and excitement, especially when you begin by being prepared for the future.