I was on vacation with my boyfriend, Scott. We had been dating for a little over three years, and I knew it was time to have “the talk.” The “I think I want to have a baby” talk. We had never really talked about having kids before, but I knew that I always wanted to have children. I didn’t really know how to approach the subject, so I just spit it out: “I think we should try to have a baby.” I wish I would have taken a picture because his face was so funny. We talked a lot that day and decided that we would try for about six months, and if it didn’t happen for us, we would revisit the conversation again and decide what to do from there. I had been off the pill for a while, and we weren’t preventing. It seemed like we were ready to start trying. I never had a conversation with my doctor, and to be honest, it was really easy for me to get pregnant after we had that conversation. I know it’s not this way for many, and I'm blessed that's the way it went for me. But how do you know you’re ready to start a family? What should you do to get your body ready for kids? To find out the answer to these questions and more, I asked Emily Turner, MD
, from The Christ Hospital Physicians - Obstetrics & Gynecology
How do you know you’re ready to have kids?
When I asked Dr. Turner how someone knows if they’re ready to have children, she said that you are the only one that really knows the answer to that. It’s a conversation to have with your partner and decide if you feel you are in a place emotionally, physically and financially to have a baby. She also pointed out that it is a long commitment to be pregnant, and it is almost always filled with discomfort and fatigue (ain’t that the truth). The end result is amazing, but having a newborn is also exhausting and can be expensive.
How do you prepare for pregnancy?
Once you and your partner decide that you’re ready, it’s time to think about your body next. Dr. Turner said if you feel you are ready and worried about whether your body is ready, you should talk to your doctor. But, typically, as long as you are at a healthy weight and living a healthy lifestyle with regular menstrual cycles, you don't have to have an appointment prior to attempting pregnancy. It’s also a good idea to have an established relationship with an OBGYN.
How long might it take?
It usually takes about a year of trying monthly to conceive. It’s important to Not get discouraged. The average rate of conception (becoming pregnant) every month for normal, healthy adults is only around 20%. I had stopped taking the pill well before I started trying to have a baby, but you should stop your form of contraception when you are ready to become pregnant.
Dr. Turner said, “Expect that it is possible you could conceive as soon as you stop the pill/patch/ring or remove your IUD or Nexplanon. It takes 3-4 months for the effects of the DepoProvera injection to wear off, so if you have received that for birth control recently, it will take longer for your body to return to normal menstrual cycles.” I also found out that maintaining a healthy weight, taking a daily prenatal vitamin with DHA, avoiding tobacco, drugs, alcohol, and not having too much sex can all assist in becoming pregnant. I know that last point seems a little odd, but Dr. Turner said, “You do not want to have intercourse TOO frequently; this can decrease your partner’s sperm count and actually decrease the likelihood of conception if there is not enough sperm available at the time of ovulation. Typically having intercourse every other day around the middle of your cycle is effective.”
What if you can’t get pregnant after trying?
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, your doctor will likely recommend a series of evaluations to diagnose why you’re having trouble. These could include an analysis of your partner’s sperm, having an ultrasound of your uterus, or lab work to assess your hormone levels. If you’re ready to plan a family and start trying, good luck! Learn more about The Christ Hospital Birthing Centers or find a women's health expert near you.