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Plan Your Pregnancy

30 Jul 2019

Having a child is a BIG life event. It is absolutely exciting, incredible and life changing. But parenthood is a lot of work with no end in sight. It is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. It is important therefore to prepare yourself and your partner – emotionally and physically – so that both of you can be as ready as possible to welcome this momentous event.

IS THE TIME RIGHT?

There is never a perfect time to have a baby; some phases of life may be more conducive to pregnancy and new parenthood than others. One thing is for sure: babies do not come with a manual and for the most part, you and your partner will have to end up making all sorts of adjustments to suit the little one.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if the time is right:

  • How will having a baby affect our current and future lifestyles or career?
  • Are we ready and willing to make those changes?
  • Emotionally, are we ready to take on parenthood?
  • Financially, can we afford to raise a child?
  • Does my insurance plan cover maternity and newborn care?
  • Do we have access to a good child care support system if I decide to return to work?

Even if you have not thought about these questions before starting a family, you can use this to guide your planning and to stage your way to a healthy pregnancy and enriching parenthood.

IS YOUR BODY READY?
Healthy lifestyle choices affect your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.

  • If you are a smoker, you may like to get advice to quit smoking
  • It is best to avoid alcohol
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Keep stress under control

If you or your partner is taking any medication, consult your doctor to get advice on whether it will affect your pregnancy. Do likewise if you have a health condition, for example: diabetes or a family history of inherited disease. By consulting with your doctor on these health matters, you and your partner will gain knowledge and be able to increase preparedness to take precautions or necessary treatments during or post pregnancy.

OVULATING AND GETTING PREGNANT

Ovulation refers to the time of the month when an egg matures due to hormonal changes in the menstrual cycle, leaves the ovary and travels to the fallopian tube. It is in the tube that this egg meets with the sperm and get fertilised. This cycle gives the woman an opportunity to conceive.

Ovulation is typically 14 days before the next menses. It only works if your cycles are regular. A woman with a 28-day cycle will ovulate on day 14. However, if you have a 32-day cycle, ovulation happens on day 18. If sperms are deposited into the woman, they remain viable for two to three days. Once the egg pops from the ovary, it also survives for one to two days. Therefore, the fertile period ranges from three days before ovulation till two days after.

HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE OVULATING?

Some women do feel a slight pinch on the side of the lower abdomen during ovulation. Following ovulation, body temperature rises marginally. Also at ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes an egg-white-like consistency, which is thin and stretchy, conducive for sperm penetration. Without examining the mucus, the woman may feel that she is ‘wetter’. Accompanying the hormonal changes, women tend to have a higher libido or sex drive at this time.

Some women may have vaginal spotting following ovulation but it is important to exclude other reasons for intermenstrual bleed if this occurs. After ovulation, the second half of the menstrual cycle brings on the usual breast tenderness and bloating.

Article is extracted from Mother & Child book. For information on Obstetrics & Gynaecology health care, treatment and services, please visit https://mtalvernia.sg/specialties/women-obstetrics-gynaecology/.

This article is taken from our My Alvernia Magazine Issue #37. Click here to read the issue on our website or on Magzter.