Are You Ready?

Learning you’re having a baby can be one of the most exciting times of your life, and it’s important to be prepared for what’s to come. Now’s the time to start to figure things out — before getting pregnant. Go through our Are You Ready Q&As to get your brain focused on what to think about before becoming a parent.

  • Get Started
  • The Health Factor
  • Mind Mapping
  • Dollars & Sense
  • Finish
  • Woman or man?

    • Woman
    • Man
  • Where do you stand on smoking?

    • I'm a daily puffer.
    • I light up from time to time.
    • It's not my style.
    • This is a big red flag. You should try to change this habit before getting pregnant. Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for your developing baby when you’re pregnant. There are thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes, and when you smoke, all that nasty stuff goes straight into your bloodstream—your baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Consider trying an over-the-counter gum or patch to quit before getting pregnant, or call your local quitline for support and ideas. Trust us—your body, partner, friends, family and baby will all thank you.

    • Occasional social smoking certainly comes with your own health risks. But before you get pregnant, you definitely want to kick the habit altogether. Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for developing babies. There are thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes, and when you smoke, all that nasty stuff goes straight into your bloodstream and is captured by the placenta—your developing baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Not a good thing.

    • Good call. Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for the development of your baby. There are thousands of harmful chemicals in cigarettes, and when you smoke, all that nasty stuff goes straight into your bloodstream and is captured by the placenta—your developing baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Choosing not to smoke is definitely the way to go when you’re prepping for a pregnancy (and really, for your own health).

  • How physically active are you?

    • I keep my body finely tuned by working out for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
    • I get moderate exercise once or twice a week.
    • I think about exercise. Does that count?
    • Nice work staying motivated and fit. Living an active lifestyle is a great way to provide a healthy environment for your future baby and to care for your child as she or he grows. Your efforts can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once you give birth. Before getting pregnant, check with your doctor to work out an exercise plan that will be safe for you throughout the stages of your pregnancy. Other than that, keep up the good work.

    • Keep up the good work and maybe even increase your exercise to one more day a week. Living an active lifestyle is a great way to provide a healthy environment for your future baby, and to care for your child as she or he grows up. Your efforts can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once you give birth. Before getting pregnant, check with your doctor to work out an exercise plan that will be safe for you throughout the stages of your pregnancy.

    • Unfortunately, not really. Living an active lifestyle is crucial in providing the healthiest possible environment for your future baby and in caring for your child as she or he grows up. Getting regular exercise can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once you give birth. Pregnancy is a great time to start exercising if you haven’t been, but it really is better to start on that path before getting pregnant.

      Talk to your health care professional about starting an exercise routine that will get your blood pumping at least a couple of times a week and look for small steps (in Colorado or in Michigan) that can help you be more active, such as tracking your steps with a pedometer, taking the stairs or playing with your pets.

  • How often do you drink?

    • Not often. Maybe one or two drinks a week max.
    • I like to have a drink each night.
    • I drink more than one drink a day.
    • You’re already taking good care of your body by keeping your alcohol consumption low, so it should be easy to drop that drinking down to zero before you go into baby-making mode and when you’re expecting. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a wide range of physical and mental birth defects. In fact, it’s the leading cause of mental retardation. And even though it’s common knowledge that heavy drinking is a no-no while pregnant, light drinking has never been proven safe.

    • One drink a day is generally considered safe for women, but before you go into baby-making mode you’ll want to make 100% sure you’re comfortable dropping all drinking while you’re expecting. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a wide range of physical and mental birth defects in your baby. And even though it’s common knowledge that heavy drinking is a no-no while pregnant, even light or moderate drinking has never been proven safe.

    • Your choices can seriously affect your health and your child’s health for life, so before you go into baby-making mode, talk to your health care professional and test out a no-drinking lifestyle first. If you need help cutting back your drinking habits you can go here to find help near you. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause a wide range of physical and mental birth defects in your baby. And even though it’s common knowledge that heavy drinking is a no-no while pregnant, even light or moderate drinking has never been proven safe.

  • Are your medications safe to use while pregnant?

    • I’m not on any meds.
    • I never even thought about that. I’m not sure.
    • I’ve heard what I’m taking may pass on to my baby.
    • Then you really have nothing to worry about. If you do end up starting vitamins, supplements, or herbal remedies, or getting a prescription while you’re pregnant, make sure to talk to your health care professional about any side effects before taking it. Also, check with your health care professional before taking or combining any medications, even Ibuprofen (such as Advil), cold medicine, skincare meds (such as Accutane), vitamins or herbal supplements.

    • Consider your health care professional your best friend for this one. Before getting pregnant it’s a good idea to talk to someone knowledgeable about how all of your medications may affect your future baby. Different drugs cause different reactions, so you need to discuss the specifics. Also, if you get a new prescription while you’re pregnant or plan to take/combine any over-the-counter medications— Ibuprofen (such as Advil), cold medicine, skincare meds (such as Accutane), vitamins or herbal supplements—make sure it’s okay first.

    • You should definitely find a time to talk with your health care professional about your plans to get pregnant. He/she may be able to prescribe an alternative, or you may want to discuss going off the medications during your pregnancy if possible. Just don’t stop taking a prescribed medication without first talking with your health care provider. Many medications are safe during pregnancy, but if your particular drugs are necessary for your own health yet may potentially harm a baby, you may want to consider other options.

  • Do you have any medical conditions that may affect or pass on to your baby?

    • Nope. I’m healthy.
    • I do have a medical condition that may threaten me or my pregnancy.
    • Congrats on your clean bill of health. A healthy mom is an important part of healthy babies. Just make sure you go to all your check-ups (before, during and after pregnancy) and listen to changes in your body and share these with your health care provider. Also make sure you stay safe by wearing your seatbelt in the car, your helmet on a bike, and get outside help if your relationship is or becomes abusive

    • With so many different medical conditions out there, it’s tough to say if yours will affect your future baby or not. The best place to get that information is from your health care professional. Having an understanding of all the potential health impacts is the first step in determining if having a baby is a good idea, so you’re already on the right track.

  • Are you ready and willing to eat right and take prenatal vitamins and folic acid on a regular basis?

    • Absolutely. I want to do what’s best for my baby.
    • I’ll do some stuff. But I can’t promise everything.
    • I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it.
    • We’re glad to hear you’re all set to take on the responsibility of the prenatal care you and your baby need. There’s a lot to do, so make sure you talk to your health care professional about the dos and don’ts, the eats and don’t-eats, and all the other ways to make sure you and your future baby are healthy.

      You’ll need good prenatal vitamins and daily folic acid (start taking it at least one month before getting pregnant, but ideally even earlier), and remember that these items come with some expense. What you eat will impact the health of your baby when born, so be sure and steer clear of swordfish, king mackerel, shark, tilefish and uncooked shellfish because they are high in mercury. Just keep up the good work and keep your baby in mind every step of the way.

    • Some stuff is good, but all the right stuff is better. There are lots of things you’ll want to do before and during pregnancy to provide the best care for you and your future baby. You can get all the information from your health care professional: the dos and don’ts, the eats and don’t-eats, and all the other ways to make sure you and your future baby are healthy.

      You’ll need good prenatal vitamins, and daily folic acid (start taking it at least one month before getting pregnant, but ideally even earlier), and remember that these items come with some expense. What you eat will impact the health of your baby when born, so be sure and steer clear of swordfish, king mackerel, shark, tilefish and uncooked shellfish because they are high in mercury. Just keep up the good work and keep your baby in mind every step of the way. All the extra effort will definitely be worth it in the end.

    • There’s a lot of important things to consider for prenatal care. In fact, doing what needs to be done before they are born is just as important as keeping them safe once they’re out in the world. Talk to your health care professional to get all the information you need to keep you and your baby healthy: the dos and don’ts, the eats and don’t-eats, and all the other prenatal details.

      You’ll need good prenatal vitamins, and daily folic acid (start taking it at least one month before getting pregnant, but ideally even earlier), and remember that these items come with some expense. What you eat will impact the health of your baby when born, so be sure and steer clear of swordfish, king mackerel, shark, tilefish and uncooked shellfish because they are high in mercury. Other than that, keep up the good work and keep your baby in mind every step of the way. It’s a lot of effort, but a healthy baby is the ultimate reward.

  • Where do you stand on smoking?

    • It's not my style.
    • I light up from time to time.
    • I'm a daily puffer.
    • Good call. Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for developing babies. If a pregnant woman is exposed to second hand smoke, all those toxins go straight into her bloodstream and are captured by the placenta—the developing baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Plus, smoking can affect male sperm and fertility. Certainly not desirable side effects.

    • Occasional social smoking certainly comes with your own health risks. But when you’re around a pregnant woman, you definitely will want to keep the puffing away. Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for developing babies. If a pregnant woman is exposed to second hand smoke, all those toxins go straight into her bloodstream and are captured by the placenta—the developing baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Plus, smoking can affect male sperm and fertility. So nixing the habit or taking your smoking outside is definitely the way to go when you’re prepping for a pregnancy.

    • Smoking isn’t just bad for your health and those around you, but it’s especially bad for developing babies. If a pregnant woman is exposed to second hand smoke, all those toxins go straight into her bloodstream and are captured by the placenta—the developing baby’s source of nutrients and oxygen. Plus, smoking can affect male sperm and fertility. So nixing the habit or taking your smoking outside is definitely the way to go when you’re prepping for a pregnancy.

  • How physically active are you?

    • I keep my body finely tuned by working out for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
    • I get moderate exercise once or twice a week.
    • I think about exercise. Does that count?
    • Nice work staying motivated and staying fit. Living an active lifestyle is a great way to have the energy to take care of your future baby. Your efforts can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once he or she is born. Keep it up.

    • Keep up the good work and maybe even increase your exercise to one more day a week. Living an active lifestyle is a great way to have the energy to care for your child as she or he grows up. Your efforts can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once he or she is born.

    • Unfortunately, not really. Living an active lifestyle is crucial in actively caring for your child as she or he grows up. Getting regular exercise can lead to better heart health, decreased risk of disease, longer lifespan and setting a good example for your little one once he or she is born. Talk to your health care professional about starting an exercise routine that will get your blood pumping at least a couple of times a week and look for small steps (in Colorado or in Michigan) that can help you be more active, such as tracking your steps with a pedometer, taking the stairs or playing with your pets.

  • Are you able and willing to support your partner as she takes on the challenges of pregnancy?

    • Yes. I’m in.
    • I’ll help with some stuff. But it’s really her thing.
    • I don’t know. That’s not my job.
    • We’re glad to hear you’re ready to help out with the responsibility of prenatal care your partner and future baby need. There’s a lot to do, so make sure you understand the dos and don’ts, the eats and don’t-eats, the vitamins and the prep classes. Stay positive, supportive, and pitch in wherever you can. And remember, she’s going through a lot, so pay attention to how you can help make things easier.

    • Some stuff is good, but all the right stuff is better. There are lots of things you can do to help your partner during pregnancy. Even though she’s the one carrying your future baby, that doesn’t mean it is any less your child. Try to help out as much as you can and show your commitment. That makes life a little better for everyone, and keeps the baby safer, healthier and happier.

    • There are lots of things you can do to help your partner during pregnancy. Even though she is carrying your future baby, that doesn’t mean it is any less your child. Try to help out as much as you can and show your commitment. That makes life a little better for everyone, and keeps the baby safer, healthier and happier.

  • Are you in a stable, trusting, physically and emotionally safe relationship?

    • Yes, yes and yes.
    • Being single is my “stable.” And I still want a baby.
    • Our love is a rocky road.
    • A strong relationship between you and your partner is a great foundation on which to build a family. Just make sure a baby can fit into your lifestyle and that you’re both ready for a new level of commitment. Keep working on your relationship and be sure to make time for each other during these exciting times. Talk about both of your approaches to parenting, from religion and schools to food and more. The more you think about it now, the easier it will be in the future.

    • Being single certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a parent. Just make sure a baby can fit into your lifestyle and that you’re truly ready for the commitment. It’s the same deal with couples. Also, make sure you have friends and family who can be there to support you emotionally and as backup parents at times. They say it takes a village to raise a child—we’re not sure about a whole village, but a strong support system is definitely key.

    • A strong relationship between you and your partner is important as you move into this exciting part of your lives. If things are a little shaky, there are lots of ways you can strengthen your relationship to get ready for a baby. Perhaps you can try couple’s counseling to create more effective communication. But if your relationship includes violence of any kind, you should also look long and hard at your partnership before getting pregnant, and consider getting outside help to stop the abuse. Having a child together is not going to “fix” what might be wrong. If you don’t see the relationship lasting, you may want to put the baby plans on hold.

  • Do you feel like you can balance work/school/life with a baby?

    • I’m ready. My life is in a good place to add a baby to the mix.
    • I can do some things, but will rely on others to help a lot.
    • I have other priorities right now (school, job, etc.), but other people can take care of the baby until I have more time.
    • Babies take up a lot of time and energy. Like, a lot. We’re not sure anyone understands how much until you actually have one. But it sounds like you are confident you will have the time to give your future baby the attention he/she needs to grow up happy and healthy.

    • A helpful support system is great, but total reliance is not. Before you get pregnant, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you could care for a baby with no help at all. Even if this isn’t how things actually turn out, you never know what might happen in life, so it’s good to plan for anything. If other people can’t come through for you, your little bundle of joy is ultimately yours to care for. Just something to think about.

    • If you have other responsibilities or commitments that dominate your time and are important to you, you may want to consider holding off on pregnancy until there is more room for the parenting priority. The best part of this whole “family planning” thing is that you actually get to plan by using birth control until you’re ready. It’s all up to you and you can live your life however you want.

      A baby is a big addition to your family and life, and raising a child is a wonderful experience if you’re ready for it. But if you have to rely on others to raise and care for your child, it may become a source of tension and stress. So just take a look at your life and make sure a child fits before bringing one into the picture.

  • Are you ready to undertake changes in your body, responsibilities and relationships?

    • I’m ready, willing and able.
    • That sounds like an awful lot to deal with.
    • With pregnancy and the birth of a child, your body goes through immense stress and changes—hormonal shifts, weight gain, stretch marks—the list goes on. Your time has to be prioritized totally differently, starting with keeping prenatal doctor’s appointments and continuing to meet the everyday needs of your child. That includes carpools, schoolwork, and nurturing them to be good people. Plus, your own relationships with partners, family and friends will definitely be different. There will be ups and downs, arguments and opportunities. But with your determination and positive attitude, it sounds like your future baby will be in very capable hands.

    • If there’s a question in your mind, a baby may not be the right answer right now. But this is a very personal topic and only you can determine if you’re truly ready. With pregnancy and the birth of a child, your body goes through immense stress and changes—hormonal shifts, weight gain, stretch marks—the list goes on. Your time has to be prioritized totally differently, starting with keeping prenatal doctor’s appointments and continuing to meet the everyday needs of your child. That includes carpools, schoolwork, and nurturing. Plus, your own relationships with partners, family and friends will definitely be different. There will be ups and downs, arguments and opportunities. So if the idea of these big life changes isn’t welcome right now, that’s something to seriously consider and discuss before becoming pregnant.

  • Have you really thought about why you want to have a child?

    • I’ve been planning, preparing and giving it a lot of thought.
    • It feels right at the moment.
    • Whatever happens, happens.
    • Having a baby is a huge commitment and a gargantuan responsibility all packed in a cute little package. And it’s a package that’s your responsibility for the rest of your life. A baby isn’t a quick fix for anything, nor is it a way to make things easier or avoid a different issue. It sounds like you understand all that. And if your reasons are honest and founded in love and trust, it may be the perfect time for a baby.

    • To be pregnant, or not to be pregnant. That is the question. If you feel ready now, but usually don’t, or if you’re considering having a baby to help mend a relationship, have someone to love and be loved by, ease stress in other areas, or avoid another issue, now may not be the best time. Talk to your health care professional, a trusted friend or family member, or your partner to really uncover if your reasons are the right ones.

    • It’s not the end of the world if you have an unplanned pregnancy. For some, it’s a good outcome. But the truth is: You do have control over this big decision in your life. And you also have birth control to help with the timing of a pregnancy. You take such care planning other areas of your life, so go ahead and approach becoming a parent the same way.

  • Have you accomplished the things you wanted to before having a family?

    • I’ve planned. I’ve accomplished. I’m ready for a little love bug.
    • Give or take.
    • I still have big plans that I can’t make happen with a baby.
    • Sounds like you’re on the right track to starting the next chapter of your life. Just remember, a child is a lifetime commitment that comes with countless unforgettable experiences and memories, and we bet you’ll enjoy them just as much as you did your pre-mom days.

    • Having a child isn’t something you just have to handle for a few years. It’s a lifetime commitment that will completely change your life. We all have dreams, and you should live as many pre-parent ones as you can before starting a family. Consider making a list of the things you want to do and then determine how many of them can realistically happen after you’ve had a child. There’s no going back to pre-parent time after a baby’s born, so make sure you accomplish what you want to before diving into a pregnancy.

    • Having a child isn’t something you just have to handle for a few years. It’s a lifetime commitment that will completely change your priorities. We all have dreams, and you should make all of your pre-parent ones come true before starting a family. And it’s not like you can’t still do amazing things once you’ve had a child, but just make sure you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished before you get pregnant. There’s no going back to pre-parent time after a baby’s born.

  • Do you have a solid support system? (Friends, family, partner, workplace, etc.)

    • Totally.
    • Kinda.
    • Not really.
    • There are a lot of emotions and time commitments that come with being a parent, and having a strong support system to hold you up is important. It’s great that you have that in your life and can trust those around you.

    • There are a lot of emotions and time commitments that come with being a parent and having a good group of people in your corner is incredibly important. If your support system has some holes, consider talking about your plans to get pregnant with the people closest to you. Gauge their reactions and be honest with your feelings. This open communication may help solidify your relationship and get you to a better place.

    • There are a lot of emotions and time commitments that come with being a parent, and having a good group of people in your corner is incredibly important. If you don’t feel like you have a solid support system, it may make your pregnancy and parenting more difficult. Life is unpredictable, so finding people you can count on might be a good first step to consider before getting pregnant.

  • Are you in a stable, trusting, physically and emotionally safe relationship?

    • Yes, yes and yes.
    • Our love is a rocky road.
    • A strong relationship between you and your partner is a great foundation on which to build a family. Just make sure a baby can fit into your lifestyle and that you’re both truly ready for a new level of commitment. Keep working on your relationship and be sure to make time for each other during these exciting times.

    • A strong relationship between you and your partner is important as you move into this exciting part of your lives. If things are a little shaky, there are lots of ways you can strengthen your relationship to get ready for a baby. Perhaps you can try couple’s counseling to create more effective communication. But if your relationship includes violence of any kind, you should also look long and hard at your partnership before getting pregnant, and consider getting outside help to stop the abuse. Having a child together is not going to “fix” what might be wrong. If you don’t see the relationship lasting, you may want to put the baby plans on hold.

  • Do you feel like you can balance work/school/life with a baby?

    • I’m ready. My life is in a good place to add a baby to the mix.
    • I can do some things, but will rely on others to help a lot.
    • I have other priorities right now (school, job, etc.), but other people can take care of the baby until I have more time.
    • Babies take up a lot of time and energy. More than you might think. In fact, we’re not sure anyone understands how much until you actually have a baby. But it sounds like you are confident you will have time to give your future baby the attention he/she needs to grow up happy and healthy.

    • A helpful support system is great, but total reliance is not. Before your partner gets pregnant, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if you could care for a baby with no help at all. Even if this isn’t how things actually turn out, you never know what might happen in life, so it’s good to plan for anything. If other people can’t come through for you, your little bundle of joy is ultimately yours to care for. Just something to think about.

    • If you have other responsibilities or commitments that dominate your time and are important to you, you may want to consider holding off on a pregnancy until there is more room for the parenting priority. The best part of this whole “family planning” thing is that you actually get to plan. It’s all up to you and your partner. You can set your own course. A baby is a big addition to your family and life, and raising a child is a wonderful experience if you’re ready for it. But if you have to rely on others to raise and care for your child, it may become a source of tension and stress. So just take a look at your life and make sure a child fits before bringing one into the picture.

  • Are you ready to undertake changes in responsibilities and relationships?

    • I’m ready, willing and able.
    • That sounds like an awful lot to deal with.
    • With the birth of a child, your time has to be prioritized totally differently starting with your partner’s prenatal doctor’s appointments and continuing to meet the everyday needs of your child. That includes carpools, schoolwork, and nurturing them to be good people. Plus, your own relationships with your partner, family and friends will definitely change. There will be ups and downs, arguments and opportunities. But with your determination and positive attitude, it sounds like your future baby will be in very capable hands.

    • If there’s a question in your mind, a baby may not be the right answer right now. But this is a very personal topic and only you can determine if you’re truly ready. With the birth of a child, your time has to be prioritized totally differently starting with keeping prenatal doctor’s appointments and continuing to meet the everyday needs of your child. That includes carpools, schoolwork, and nurturing them to be good people. Plus, your own relationships with your partner, family and friends will never be the same. There will be ups and downs, arguments and opportunities, so if the idea of these big life changes isn’t welcome, that’s something to seriously consider before having a baby.

  • Have you really thought about why you want to have a child?

    • Definitely. I’ve been planning, preparing and giving it a lot of thought.
    • It feels right at the moment.
    • Whatever happens, happens.
    • Having a baby is a huge commitment and a gargantuan responsibility all packed in a cute little package. And it’s a package that’s your responsibility for the rest of your life. A baby isn’t a quick fix for anything, nor is it a way to make things easier or avoid a different issue. It sounds like you understand all that. And if your reasons are honest and founded in love and trust, it may be the perfect time for a baby.

    • To have a baby, or not to have a baby. That is the question. If you feel ready now, but usually don’t, or if you’re considering having a baby to help mend a relationship, have someone to love and be loved by, ease stress in other areas, or avoid another issue, now may not be the best time. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, or your partner to uncover if your reasons are the right ones.

    • It’s not the end of the world if you and your partner have an unplanned pregnancy. In fact, sometimes it ends up being a good outcome for some people. But the truth is: You do have control over this big decision in your life. And birth control can help make the timing of a pregnancy what you plan for. You take care planning other areas of your life, so go ahead and approach becoming a parent the same way.

  • Have you accomplished the things you wanted to before having a family?

    • I’ve planned. I’ve accomplished. I’m ready for a baby.
    • Give or take.
    • I still have big plans that I can’t make happen with a baby.
    • Sounds like you’re on the right track to starting the next chapter of your life. Just remember, a baby is a lifetime commitment that comes with countless unforgettable experiences and memories, and we bet you’ll enjoy them just as much as you did your pre-dad days.

    • Having a child isn’t something you just have to handle for a few years. It’s a lifetime commitment that will completely change your life. We all have dreams, and you should live as many pre-parent ones as you can before starting a family. Consider making a list of the things you want to do and then determine how many of them can realistically happen after you’ve had a child. There’s no going back to pre-parent time after a baby’s born, so make sure you accomplish what you want to before diving in to a pregnancy.

    • Having a child isn’t something you just have to handle for a few years. It’s a lifetime commitment that will completely change your priorities. We all have dreams, and you should make all of your pre-parent ones come true before starting a family. And it’s not like you can’t still do amazing things once you’ve become a parent, but just make sure you’re satisfied with what you’ve accomplished before going into baby-making mode. There’s no going back to pre-parent time after a baby is born.

  • Do you have a solid support system? (Friends, family, partner, workplace, etc.

    • Totally.
    • Kinda.
    • Not really.
    • There are a lot of emotions that come with a baby, and having a strong support system to back you up when you need a hand is important. It’s great that you have that in your life and can trust those around you.

    • There are a lot of emotions and time commitments that come with a baby, and having a good group of people in your corner is incredibly important. If your support system has some holes, consider talking about your plans to become a parent with the people closest to you. Gauge their reactions and be honest with your feelings. This open communication may help solidify your relationship and get you to a better place.

    • There are a lot of emotions and time commitments that come with a baby, and having a good group of people in your corner when you need a hand is incredibly important. If you don’t feel like you have a solid support system, it may make parenting a lot more difficult. Life is unpredictable, so finding people you can count on might be a good first step to consider before becoming a parent.

  • Do you have steady job with enough income to provide what your child needs? Paycheck?

    • Check.
    • Not so much.
    • Children are expensive—hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars expensive. It’s pricy at the beginning when you have to buy all the staples and this continues throughout your child’s young life with food, health care, childcare, clothes, activities, etc. The fact that you have a steady income is a great indicator of your financial situation, and it’s important to make sure you have a back-up plan in case anything unexpected happens. Other than that, keep up the good (hard) work. And if you’re curious, check out how much a childreally costs here.

    • Children are expensive—hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars expensive. It’s pricy at the beginning when you have to buy all the staples and this continues throughout your child’s young life with food, health care, childcare, clothes, activities, etc. Without a steady income, having a baby can cause some serious financial strain. If your money situation is in trouble, having a child isn’t going to help anyone. Keep your eyes out for steady employment opportunities and then take a fresh look at the baby idea once the paychecks are coming in. If you’re curious, check out how much a child really costs here.

  • Do you have at least three to six full month’s worth of savings?

    • Yep. I’ve saved plenty of pennies.
    • Nope. Still working on it.
    • Having savings is the ultimate contingency plan. If your income were to suddenly stop with the loss of a job or another unforeseen situation, this cushion will be your lifesaver. If you can, keep adding to it. There’s no such thing as an oversized financial safety net.

    • Having savings is the ultimate contingency plan. If your income were to suddenly stop with the loss of a job or another unforeseen situation, this cushion will be your lifesaver. Before you have a child, start small. Choose a reasonable amount that you can put away every month and watch it grow. Also, make sure to take care of your debts. If you have money in savings, but also have debt, that means your savings is a less stable safety net for you and your child.

  • Are you able to open a college savings account for your child?

    • Done and done.
    • I think it’s a little early to be thinking about college savings.
    • Smart thinking because the cost of college is growing and growing. Saving for college can start as early as birth and a college savings account is the perfect gift request for baby showers, birthdays and occasions throughout your child’s upbringing. Some financial institutions will let you open up a 529 savings plan for as little as $25 and they provide tax benefits. Your bank will have more information or you can visit websites like CollegeInvest.org, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Michigan Education Trust, or Michigan Education Savings Program.

    • Yes, it’s early. But definitely not too early because the cost of college is growing and growing. Saving for college can start as early as birth and a college savings account is the perfect gift request for baby showers, birthdays and occasions throughout your child’s upbringing. Some financial institutions will let you open up a 529 savings plan for as little as $25 and they provide tax benefits. Your bank will have more information or you can visit websites like CollegeInvest.org, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Michigan Education Trust, or Michigan Education Savings Program.

  • Can you afford to stay home or pay for childcare?

    • Yes. I have a plan.
    • No. I’m not sure what I will do.
    • Planning ahead is key in, well, family planning. Making sure you or someone you trust can take care of your baby is a key parenting and financial question you will face. Professional childcare can be so expensive that it may make sense for you to stay home if you have another source of income and if you are comfortable with that choice. In fact, the average cost of center-based daycare is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but depending on where you live, prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly). Just do what’s right for your family and the safety of your child, and you’ll be on the right path.

    • Planning ahead is key in, well, family planning. Making sure you or someone you trust can take care of your baby is a key parenting and financial question you will face. Professional childcare can be so expensive that it may make sense for you to stay home if you have another source of income and if you are comfortable with that choice. In fact, the average cost of center-based daycare is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but depending on where you live, prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly. Do your research, talk to other parents and most importantly, do that math. If you can’t afford to care for your baby, it may not be a good time to have one.

  • Do you have reliable health insurance?

    • All covered.
    • No. I’ll be paying mostly on credit cards or out of pocket.
    • There are medical costs during your pregnancy and after your child is born, so it’s a good thing you’re covered. Medical expenses can easily break the bank, so having reliable insurance is important with a baby on the way. Coverage for prenatal and delivery costs (including co-pays and deductibles) can be different for each insurance plan. So even if you are sure that you have a good plan, it’s important to learn the specifics about your coverage so you don’t have any surprises.

    • It’s not impossible to pay for medical bills without insurance, but it’s not a realistic solution for most families. There are medical costs during your pregnancy and after your child is born, so if your baby gets sick or has a condition that requires ongoing treatment, covering those bills yourself can be an uphill, unending battle. Plus, acquiring debt isn’t a good long-term solution. Ask your health care professional about potential options and programs. Even just having a low-premium insurance plan for catastrophic injuries will provide some security.

  • Can you afford to take time off work if something happens during your pregnancy, for maternity or paternity leave, or after your child is born?

    • I can make it work.
    • That’s really iffy.
    • There’s no way.
    • Paid maternity and paternity leave, or even unpaid leave when you know you can come back to your job, can be a big help when your baby is first born. But looking forward, stuff happens. And if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. You’re doing the right thing by thinking about the future and making sure you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

    • Not having any paid, or even unpaid, leave for when the baby comes or dealing with lost income for taking off work will be tough. Stuff happens, and if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. Whether it’s living on just your partner’s income temporarily, dipping into your savings, working out a plan with your employer, or looking to friends and family for financial support, just make sure you know your options and discuss them with the people they might affect.

    • Not having any paid leave for when the baby comes, dealing with lost income for taking off work, or not knowing if you will have a job when you return will be tough. Stuff happens, and if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. Maybe it’s living on just your partner’s income temporarily, dipping into your savings, working out a plan with your employer, or looking to friends and family for financial support. But if none of these options sound feasible, it’s a good time to reconsider if a baby is the right decision.

  • Do you have a steady job with enough income to provide what your baby needs? Paycheck?

    • Check.
    • Not so much.
    • Children are expensive—hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars expensive. It’s pricy at the beginning when you have to buy all the staples and this continues throughout your child’s young life with food, health care, childcare, clothes, activities, etc. The fact that you have a steady income is a great indicator of your financial situation, and it’s important to make sure you have a back-up plan in case anything unexpected happens. Other than that, keep up the good (hard) work. And if you’re curious, check out how much a child really costs here.

    • Children are expensive—hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars expensive. It’s pricy at the beginning when you have to buy all the staples and this continues throughout your child’s young life with food, health care, childcare, clothes, activities, etc. Without a steady income, having a child can cause some serious financial strain. If your money situation is in trouble, bringing a child in isn’t going to help anyone. Keep your eyes out for steady employment opportunities and then take a fresh look at the baby idea once the paychecks are coming in. If you’re curious, check out how much a child really costs here.

  • Do you have at least three to six full month’s worth of savings?

    • Yep. I’ve saved plenty of pennies.
    • Nope. I’m still working on it.
    • Having savings is the ultimate contingency plan. If your income were to suddenly stop with the loss of a job or another unforeseen situation, this cushion will be your lifesaver. If you can, keep adding to it. There’s no such thing as an oversized financial safety net.

    • Having savings is the ultimate contingency plan. If your income were to suddenly stop with the loss of a job or another unforeseen situation, this cushion will be your lifesaver. Before you have a child, start small. Choose a reasonable amount that you can put away every month and watch it grow. Also, make sure to take care of your debts. If you have money in savings, but also have debt, that savings is actually a less stable safety net for you and your family.

  • Are you able to open a college savings account for your child?

    • Done and done.
    • I think it’s a little early to be thinking about college savings.
    • Smart thinking because the cost of college is growing and growing. Saving for college can start as early as birth and a college savings account is the perfect gift request for baby showers, birthdays and occasions throughout your child’s upbringing. Some financial institutions will let you open up a 529 savings plan for as little as $25 and they provide tax benefits. Your bank will have more information or you can visit websites like CollegeInvest.org, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Michigan Education Trust, or Michigan Education Savings Program.

    • Yes, it’s early. But definitely not too early because the cost of college is growing and growing. Saving for college can start as early as birth and a college savings account is the perfect gift request for baby showers, birthdays and occasions throughout your child’s upbringing. Some financial institutions will let you open up a 529 savings plan for as little as $25 and they provide tax benefits. Your bank will have more information or you can visit websites like CollegeInvest.org, a division of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Michigan Education Trust, or Michigan Education Savings Program.

  • Can you afford to stay home or pay for childcare?

    • Yes. I have a plan.
    • No. I’m not sure what I will do.
    • Planning ahead is key in, well, family planning. Making sure you or someone you trust can take care of your baby is a key parenting and financial question you will face. Professional childcare can be so expensive that it may make sense for you or your partner to stay home. In fact, the average cost of center-based daycare is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but depending on where you live, prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly). Just do what’s right for your family and the safety of your child and you’re on the right path.

    • Planning ahead is key in, well, family planning. Making sure you or someone you trust can take care of your baby is a key parenting and financial question you will face. Professional childcare can be so expensive that it may make sense for you or your partner to stay home. In fact, the average cost of center-based daycare is $11,666 per year ($972 a month), but depending on where you live, prices range from $3,582 to $18,773 a year ($300 to $1,564 monthly). Do your research, talk to other parents and most importantly, do that math. If you can’t afford to care for your baby, it may not be a good time to have one.

  • Do you and your partner have reliable health insurance that will cover the pregnancy costs and provide coverage for your child?

    • All covered.
    • No. I’ll be paying mostly on credit cards or out of pocket.
    • There are medical costs during a pregnancy and after your child is born, so it’s a good thing you’re all covered. Medical expenses can easily break the bank, so having reliable insurance is important with a baby on the way. Coverage for prenatal and delivery costs (including co-pays and deductibles) and after your baby is born can be different for each insurance plan. So even if you are sure that you have a good plan, it’s important to learn the specifics about your coverage so you don’t have any surprises and can be sure that your child will be covered as well.

    • It’s not impossible to pay for medical bills without insurance, but it’s not a realistic solution for most families. There are medical costs during a pregnancy and after your child is born, so if your baby gets sick or has a condition that requires ongoing treatment, covering those bills yourself can be an uphill, unending battle. Plus, acquiring debt isn’t a good long-term solution. Ask your health care professional about potential options and programs. Even just having a low-premium insurance plan for catastrophic injuries will provide some security.

  • Can you afford to take time off work if something happens during your partner’s pregnancy or after your child is born?

    • I can make it work.
    • That’s really iffy.
    • There’s no way.
    • Paid paternity leave, if you have it, can be a big help when your baby is first born. But looking forward, stuff happens. And if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. You’re doing the right thing by thinking about the future and making sure you’re prepared for whatever may come your way.

    • Not having any paid leave for when the baby comes or dealing with lost income for taking off work will be tough. Stuff happens, and if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. Whether it’s living on just one income temporarily, dipping into your savings, working out a plan with your employer, or looking to friends and family for financial support, just make sure you know your options and discuss them with the people they might affect.

    • Not having any paid leave for when the baby comes, dealing with lost income for taking off work, or not knowing if you will have a job when you return will be tough. Stuff happens, and if it happens to you or your baby, it’s good to have a backup plan. Maybe it’s living on just one income temporarily, dipping into your savings, working out a plan with your employer, or looking to friends and family for financial support. But if none of these options sound feasible, it’s a good time to reconsider if a baby is the right decision.

We hope this tool gave you the answers you need to help determine whether you’re ready to bring a baby into the picture. Or at least we hope it got you thinking about the many physical, emotional and financial considerations of pregnancy and parenthood.

Check out the resources below for more info. It’s important to cover all your bases, so just keep the conversation going and you’ll be starting off on the right foot.

The Health Factor

Talk to your healthcare provider for specific prenatal recommendations. You can also visit the Women’s Health Unit of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for more details.

Resources for smoking and alcohol use:

Resources for staying active:

    Mind Mapping

    Look to your friends and family for support as you consider taking this step into the next phase of your life. If you are experiencing more serious emotional struggles, consider visiting a clinic or mental health professional. Ask your doctor about a referral and any other resources that may be available to you.

    Dollars and Sense

    Go to the bank and meet with one of their financial specialists to talk about savings or college savings plans for your baby. CollegeInvest is a great resource through the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

    Additional resources:

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