Thinking of expanding your family, but unsure if you’re ready? Here are a few telltale signs that your body and mind is ready for the rewarding (but tough) process of pregnancy – even if you don’t realise it.
It’s been at least 18 months since your last delivery
Pregnancy takes a heavy toll on the body. Whether you had a vaginal delivery or C-section, doctors advise letting your body heal and rest for at least 18 months before trying to conceive again. This gives the body enough time to build up the nutritional resources that your foetus needs. Studies have shown that a gap of less than 18 months between pregnancies have been linked to increased risks of premature births and low-birth weight.
Furthermore, spacing out your pregnancies will allow you more time and energy to care for a new baby. Your first child will be older and (hopefully) more manageable; and both mummy and daddy will be able to prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally for a new arrival.
Your period is back to normal
Much like a welcome back gift, meeting Aunt Flo regularly means that your ovulation process and hormones are more or less back to normal. For non-breastfeeding mums, menstruation may come back in as little as five to six weeks after giving birth. It varies for breastfeeding mums, but do take note that not having your period doesn’t mean being “fully protected” from pregnancy.
For mums who have just gotten off birth control or completed breastfeeding, it is advisable to wait for two to three menstrual cycles to let the body’s hormonal system stabilise before trying to conceive.
Your BMI is healthy
While weight isn’t a surefire indicator or factor of a complication-free birth, doctors advise maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy. This is due to an increased chance of risky pregnancy if you conceive and carry a child while at an unhealthy BMI.
Fertility issues have also been linked to weight. For example, underweight patients may have increased risk of miscarriages, premature labour and low birth weight babies. And obese women are more likely to have miscarriages, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and impaired foetal development.
You are complication free
It is always ideal to be completely healthy before putting your body through pregnancy. Chronic health conditions such as high-blood pressure and diabetes can cause complications for mummy and baby – medication and treatment for certain conditions may not be suitable for pregnancy either. And consider the exertion on the body to sustain both mother and child, and heal itself at the same time.
With that being said, there are plenty of mums who have had successful pregnancies even with the above-mentioned complications. If you have cause for concern, speak with your doctor for advice on resolving any health issues or how to keep your condition in check.
The blues have vanished
Pregnancy ain’t a bed of roses, but the transition to motherhood is also tremendously taxing on physical and mental health. With drastically changing hormone levels, fatigue and stress from 24/7 motherly duties (and so much more), our sanity and self-care needs are often shifted to the backburner. It really isn’t surprising that many new mums experience baby blues or post-partum distress – which may develop into post-partum depression.
While the emotional rollercoaster is completely normal, it is important to take care of yourself. Prioritising mental health isn’t selfish at all, and it enables us to become better mothers.