Are You Ready for Pregnancy
Prenatal experts offer advice to parents-to-be on emotionally preparing for a baby.
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Many hospitals and childbearing centers are even adding special preconception classes to their repertoire. They discuss issues such as juggling career and family, how kids affect marital relationships and attitudes toward discipline.
The conclusions couples draw will vary. For some, the insights might mean bracing themselves for heavier negotiations. Others may decide they're not ready for the lifestyle changes parenthood takes. Some might want basic parenting instruction before assuming the responsibilities of a newborn.
"Getting it all out in the open in the beginning, letting that partly make your decision about whether you're going to have a child or not and trying to resolve the conflicts can head off some of the problems that might develop," says Diana Taylor, a nurse midwife who conducts preconception and breast-feeding classes at The Maternity Center in Bethesda, Md.
Nancy Karabaic, a personal trainer from Wheaton, Md., who just gave birth to a baby boy less than a month ago, says that taking a preconception class with her husband Chris LaChat was beneficial since neither one had spent much time around children and weren't sure what to expect.
"We walked out of that class, and I remember thinking, 'Boy, if they wanted to prevent you from having a baby, this is really the way to do it.' The message was 'Really think about this before you do it because it will change your life.' "
But it was good because we could say to ourselves, "We know all of those things and we still feel like this is what we want to do."
While the evidence is still inconclusive, working through potential anxieties and trouble spots early on may even contribute to a healthier pregnancy, says Dr. Ezra Davidson Jr., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. "Unwanted pregnancies have a higher incidence of complications and poorer outcomes, while women in a supportive, unstressful environment where the pregnancy is eagerly anticipated by both partners are in general going to do better."