Before you get pregnant, there are a couple of things that you should give some serious thought to in order to make your life run a bit more smoothly once you decide to begin trying to conceive. Here are some of the basics:
- Health Insurance
Before you even think about getting pregnant be sure that you do a health insurance check up. For example, be sure of what exactly your insurance covers and whom. Is your practitioner on the list? Which facilities do they allow you to go to? Do they cover well baby care? Do they cover midwives and birth centers? What would your co-pay be? Do they cover high risk prenatal care? Do they have any special prenatal programs? Since you have the ability to change insurances typically only once a year, do your planning ahead of time rather than getting stuck with poor coverage or getting stuck not being able to see the care providers you'd like to see.
Of course, money plays an issue when thinking about babies. You will need to consider the costs of having a baby from health insurance co-payments to day care or a reduction in income. Are you housing and car situations good or will you need an upgrade? And let's not forget diapers, car seats and all the things babies need.
The obvious thing on this list is getting a preconceptional health check up. What may not be obvious is that you both need to have a check up. More and more we're learning that dad's health does indeed effect the baby's health. Be specific when visiting your practitioner. Tell them straight up that you are trying to get pregnant. This will ensure that you get the best advice. They will screen you for chronic conditions as well as do a routine physical. This is also a great time to discuss birth control and when and how to discontinue it.
- Family Leave Policies
Before getting pregnant is the best time to find out about family leave policies. You can get this information in your company's handbook or from your human resources office. Since there are a lot of companies who provide both maternity leave and paternity leave, you should both look into this policy. You will also want to know how the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) works for you. In addition to talking about straight time off after the baby, this is also a good time to ask about bed-rest policies should you have a complicated pregnancy as well as taking time off for a sick baby or pediatrician appointments and prenatal care.
- Life Insurance & Wills
While no one wants to think about death just when you're planning a new life, but the truth is I'd be remiss not to mention it. Ensuring that you have a decent life insurance policy either through work or privately is a must when kids are involved. This allows your family to ensure that they are well cared for should something happen to you. A will is also a necessity. If you and/or your spouse were to pass on, you'd want to spell out your wishes for your baby/child in the future, including who you would want to care for them.