The majority of women feel that at some stage in their life they’d like to start a family, and there’s no doubt that having a baby is an immensely rewarding and fulfilling experience. You might want to wait until you’re older, as many women do now. The average age that women give birth is steadily rising, and being a new mum in your thirties is now considered perfectly normal. Or you might want to start a family when you’re young if you feel ready and able to cope with small children.
The choice is yours, as modern contraception enables women to take control of their fertility and make their own choices about how many children to have and when. Of course, it doesn’t always go to plan, and many women discover they’ve fallen pregnant by accident. That can be a shock because you’ve had no time to prepare, but if you wish to go ahead with the pregnancy, there’s still plenty of time to make preparations.
Knowing where you’ll be living is crucial to be able to plan for the birth, but it doesn’t mean you can’t manage if you’re living in rented accommodation or you’re at home with your parents. It just means you need to assess what you can fit in and how to organize your life around the baby and your circumstances.
Do you intend to carry on working, and if so for how long? You have a number of choices that you need to consider, and you’ll need to talk to your employer about the pregnancy so that arrangements can be made to cover your role while you’re on maternity leave. Some women choose to change to a part-time position, others to become full-time mums, others to use childcare to enable them to return to full-time work. Make sure you know what your legal rights are, and find out about any schemes in your workplace such as childcare facilities and flexible working.
When you’re expecting, it’s lovely to think you might be giving birth in a relaxed and natural way, and that everything will go according to plan. While many mums have some heart-warming stories of giving birth at home without any problems, other women do experience a more traumatic birth. It’s not a good idea to scare yourself by obsessing about all the things that could go wrong, because it doesn’t help; but being prepared for complications is a sensible precaution.
You’ll prepare a birth plan with your midwife, detailing how you’d ideally like to give birth, but that may have to change. Although it doesn’t happen often, occasionally a delivery may run into difficulties that affect the health of you or your child. For example, an injury to the baby’s shoulder during the birth might lead to Erb’s Palsy, a paralysis of the arm caused by nerve damage. If such an event should occur, be prepared to contact an Erb’s Palsy lawyer to find out about compensation.
Having a baby is an extraordinary experience that changes your life. If you make all the right preparations for the birth, you should find that it’s a change you’ll be very thankful for!