Becoming a parent is a monumental life change. While some of us have an inherent desire to embrace it, others don't find themselves fit for the job. After all, the journey through parenthood doesn't come with a manual or a map. But then, what should one do before taking the plunge? The answer is quite simple. You need to start preparing for parenthood! Now, this can be difficult for some and a cakewalk for others. But planning each step is the most convenient way to go through this unpredictable ride. 

How Do You Start Preparing For Parenthood?

1. Finding Your ‘Right’ Time

They said it right - the 30s are the new 20s. However, the statement holds no meaning when it comes to your fertility. Speaking on biological terms, the best time to get pregnant is in your late 20s or early 30s. 1

But the timing to become a parent is unique to everyone. Age is just one factor that you should consider while preparing for parenthood. Your physical and psychological health, emotional well-being, finances, and support system are a few of the many factors that should be taken into consideration before planning a pregnancy.1

As glorified parenthood may seem to some, it brings its share of challenges. A couple needs to be well prepared to kick start their journey on a personal as well as on a mutual level.

2. Emotional & Psychological Health Check

Assessing your mental and emotional well-being is a crucial step to responsible parenthood. Studies indicate that the parent's emotional & psychological health can impact their newborn's health in many ways.2 This is why it’s important to be in the right headspace before conceiving!

The best option is to seek support from others. Consult a doctor to understand your eligibility for becoming a parent and ways to find a perfect emotional and psychological balance. This is even more important when you have a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or any other psychological disorder. 2, 3

3. Physical Health Check

The physical health of the male as well as the female partner is of utmost concern once they start preparing for parenthood. Most couples confuse reproductive health as the only parameter to have a happy, healthy pregnancy. But in reality, their overall health matters equally, if not more.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs),4 diabetes,5 thyroid disease,6 high blood pressure,7 obesity,8 etc., are some of the conditions that can cause different types of complications before and during pregnancy.

This is why a preconception health check is a must for soon-to-be parents. Getting clarity on your physical health status helps you identify the next step in your parenthood journey.

4. Reproductive Health Check

Both men and women experience fertility peaks during their 20s and early 30s. As they come close to or cross 35, there may be a significant decrease in their ability to conceive or have a successful pregnancy.9

Men produce sperm every single day. However, as they age, their quality of sperm declines.10 With women, the process is slightly more complex. Generally, a woman's reproductive years last between 12.8 11 and 46.212 years of age. This is a time when they produce an egg every month from the limited reserve they have. Similar to men, with growing age, women start experiencing decreased fertility.

Although age plays an integral part in deciding how easily you can conceive, it is not the only parameter outlining your fertility. Couples can face infertility even in their early or late 20s. This happens due to a variety of anatomical, hormonal, and other lifestyle-related reasons.13, 14

That's where LifeCell steps in to help! With advanced & proactive services like OvaScore and SpermScore, we aim to help couples understand what goes on inside their bodies and their reproductive machinery. 

LifeCell's OvaScore is a quick, simple, and hassle-free female fertility test that helps women to learn if their hormones are balanced enough to support their reproductive choices. It is a great way for them to track their fertility status and identify potential red flags that may cause issues with their reproductive health, all in just 3 to 5 days! On the other hand, LifeCell's SpermScore serves as a convenient, comprehensive & confidential way to test the quality of the male partner's sperm in the comfort and privacy of one's home. 

With just a single test, couples can understand their fertility status, plan their family goals, and explore options like egg freezing or sperm banking, if necessary.

5. Preconception Care 

Preconception care and preparing for parenthood go hand-in-hand; as soon as a couple decides to have a baby, they need to start taking care of their overall well-being. This ensures that both the parents and the baby are healthy and safe throughout the pregnancy. 

Preconception care can look different for every individual. While some men and women may require just a few months to prepare for pregnancy, others may have to face more challenges.15

Whether it's a natural pregnancy or an assisted reproductive method like IVF, there are a few precautionary measures every couple must follow. Maintaining a healthy weight, adopting an active lifestyle, getting up-to-date on vaccines, and avoiding the use of alcohol, caffeine, or smoking is a good start.16

6. Preserving Your Fertility

Preserving your fertility is a great option when your present time isn't the best time to have a baby, especially when: 17, 18, 19

  • Your biological clock is ticking, but you aren't physically, emotionally, or psychologically prepared for parenthood. 
  • You wish to explore assisted reproductive routes like IVF in the future.
  • You have a genetic predisposition to develop a medical condition like cancer.
  • You are diagnosed with a genetic or autoimmune disorder like lupus that can adversely affect your fertility with time.
  • You are starting with cancer treatment, either radiation or chemotherapy.
  • You are about to undergo surgery that will affect your fertility.
  • You suffer from gynecological conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, recurrent ovarian cysts, and primary ovarian insufficiency.

If you or your partner relate to any such conditions, it is a good idea to consult a fertility specialist and explore your options. Methods like egg freezing, sperm banking, embryo banking, etc., allow you to control the timing of your life and plan things as per your will. 

The Final Word

We all inherit a perfect idea of parenthood through our families, books, and favorite movies. In reality, the truth about parenthood is far from how we idealize it. It is undoubtedly a joyous and exciting phase in your life, but we often tend to ignore the aspects involving anxiety, confusion, and those never-ending doubts. A parent should be emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially secure before the baby makes a debut. And this requires a comprehensive plan where you take each step with plenty of care, love, and devotion. And every good plan needs a great start! Kickstart your journey to parenthood with detailed insights on your fertility through LifeCell’s OvaScore and SpermScore test.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5241353/ 
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00391/full 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725219/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7668326/ 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458502/ 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5153572/ 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6458675/ 
  8. https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-021-03571-5 
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7721003/ 
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253726/ 
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213398421000622 
  12. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5051232/# 
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7008178/ 
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556033/  
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4196570/ 
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441880/ 
  17. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14647273.2017.1422297?journalCode=ihuf20 
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4321210/ 
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659739/#  

References