Last updated: September 2014
11. Consider money matters
According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, middle-income families will spend $286,050 to raise a child from birth through age 17. Find out how much you're likely to spend with our Cost of Raising a Child Calculator .
For the more immediate future, you'll want to consider the cost of pregnancy and delivery. Without insurance, a typical vaginal delivery can cost about $9,000 and a cesarean section about $15,000. Neonatal intensive care can cost $2,000 to $3,000 a day.
If you have health insurance, give the company a call and find out what kind of prenatal coverage they offer. If you're lucky enough to have a choice of plans, compare coverage and providers. If you have a particular doctor or midwife in mind, find out if she's in your plan or how much it would cost to see her out of network.
Find out what your deductibles are for prenatal visits and delivery, and ask what tests and procedures your insurance covers. (Preconception and prenatal care visits and many prenatal tests should be completely covered thanks to Obama's Affordable Care Act .) If you have a high deductible, try to put a little aside now so you won't be slammed with exorbitant bills when the baby arrives.
If you don’t have health insurance, contact your local health department to see what programs and resources are available in your area to help pregnant women and babies get the medical care and other services they need. Call 800-311-BABY (800-311-2229) for information on prenatal services in your area. (For information in Spanish, call 800-504-7081.)
12. Consider your mental health
Women who suffer from depression are twice as likely to have problems with fertility as women who don't, says Alice Domar, director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF. As she points out, "If someone is clinically depressed, she can barely take care of herself, much less a baby. From an evolutionary point of view, it makes sense that it's hard to get pregnant when you're depressed."
Domar suggests that all women, but
especially those with a personal or family history of depression, do a mental health check before they get pregnant. If you notice signs of depression. such as a loss of interest and pleasure in things that you used to enjoy, a change in appetite or sleep patterns, a loss of energy, or feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, ask your practitioner for a referral to a therapist or psychiatrist for a consultation.
The two most effective treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication, and many patients do best with a combination of both. A psychiatrist can help you find an antidepressant that's safe to take while you're trying to conceive and during your pregnancy. You also may want to try stress management techniques, such as yoga and meditation, which research suggests can help depressed women conceive.
13. Avoid infections
It's important to steer clear of infections when you're trying to get pregnant, especially those that could harm your baby-to-be.
You'll want to stay away from certain foods, such as unpasteurized soft cheeses and other dairy products. cold deli meats, and raw and undercooked fish and poultry. These foods can harbor dangerous bacteria that cause listeriosis. a food-borne illness that can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. You should also avoid unpasteurized juices because they can contain bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli .
Be sure to wash your hands frequently when preparing meals, and make sure your fridge is set between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit (2 and 4 degrees Celsius) and your freezer is at or below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) to keep cold foods from going bad.
It's a good idea to wear gloves when digging in the garden or sandbox, and to get someone else to change the litter box to avoid contracting toxoplasmosis. another infection that can be dangerous for a developing baby.
Finally, make sure you get a flu shot. to avoid coming down with the flu when you're pregnant. Get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine for the coming season becomes available. Getting the flu while pregnant can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and preterm labor.