Has your mom told you she’s ready for grandkids? Grandma says you need to start having babies before you’re too old? Is your partner either super interested or unimpressed with the whole idea? Is it too early or late to get pregnant?
Irida, a current nursing student walks us through the meaning of “the right time” to have a baby.
There are several things to consider while planning a pregnancy – let’s use an example discussing Ella, a university student who is just finishing her degree and about to start a new career.
Reproductive Life Plan
Ella does not have a reproductive life plan – actually she’s never heard about it before. She has a general idea of when she’d like children but right now she is focussed on school and starting her career.
As part of a reproductive life plan, deciding not to have a baby right now, means taking steps to prevent a pregnancy, practice safer sex, and continue to improve one’s overall health.
Ella is currently 26 years old. Biologically, this is a good time to have a child. Ageing affects the quality of eggs and the sperms formation and motility. Those 35 and over may want to speak to their health care provider about their family health history to ensure any physical or mental health conditions are under control.
Ella’s stress levels are high due to the pressures of university work and she has to decide what her next steps are once university is finished.
Does she want to continue to do more school?
Does she want to find a job right away?
These types of decisions can be difficult to make and financial pressures can add to the feelings of stress. Contacting student support services at school can help outline available options for support. Unmanaged stress can also play a large role in how you feel and cope in difficult situations and too much stress can make it hard to follow good health habits.
Ella needs to stay healthy. Talking to a health care provider about ways to improve and maintain health is important. This includes:
- Having a regular check-up with one’s health-care provider to:
- Ensure immunizations are up-to-date
- Discuss family health history e.g. diabetes, thyroid disease, & seizure disorders
- Ensure any physical or mental health conditions are under control
- Prevent, screen and test for sexually transmitted infections & HIV
- Eating healthy and being physically active.
- Taking a multivitamin with 0.4 mg of folic acid, if you are a person who may get pregnant.
- Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs including cannabis.
- Reducing harmful environmental exposures such as lead, pesticides, and solvents.
To sum it up, readiness for a baby is a very personal decision between you, your partner and your healthcare provider.
There is no “right” time to have a baby. What’s right for everyone else isn’t necessarily right for you!
If you have questions about your plan, or just want to clarify things, call or eChat with one of our public health nurses at 416-338-7600.