The Planner’s Guide to Pregnancy: What to Know Before You TTC

Preparing for Pregnancy: The Type A, Planner's Guide to Pregnancy and What to Know Before You TTC | Corporette2018 Update: We still stand by these tips on preparing for pregnancy, but you may also want to check out our more recent discussions on family planning and pregnancy, including how to decide if you want to have kids

What are the most important steps to take as you’re preparing for pregnancy and planning to have a baby?  If you’re a Type A, planner type of woman, what should you know ahead of time? Readers discuss this often, but I don’t think we’ve ever rounded up everyone’s advice.  So: if  you wanted to start trying to conceive (“TTC”) in six months, what would you want to check off your to do list? Are there certain things you’d focus on in your career, personal life, or health? For those of us who are Type A, planner types, this is an important question — what should you know before you TTC?

We’ve talked about financially preparing for a baby in our Tales from the Wallet series, as well as Kat’s advice on planning your career for babies, but we haven’t talked about the more general aspects of planning for a baby in a while. We’ve collected the most helpful reader advice here — what would you add? What would you tell a planner asking how to plan for her pregnancy?

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Planning Your Career for Babies

Planning Your Career for Babies2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion on planning your career for babies — but you may also want to check out some of our more recent discussions on family planning and pregnancy, including how to decide if you want kids, and our top tips on preparing for pregnancy (if the answer is yes). Over at our working moms’ blog, you may want to check out advice on work-life balance from working moms to their pre-mom selves.

We’ve talked about how to financially plan for babies recently-ish, but we haven’t discussed other broad aspects of planning for babies since 2010, when I was pregnant with my first but hadn’t yet announced it here. (Ah, although we did have a nice discussion about when to get pregnant, which I’d forgotten about.) So what does planning your career for babies look like? I just got this related question from Reader K:

I am a 33 yo associate attorney at a small firm. I was pregnant with my first and then had a miscarriage in October. It was going to be perfect timing work-wise — due at the end of April. So here I am, possibly ready to try again. I have a big trial in a case that’s solely my case in February 2017. I doubt it will settle. Is it irresponsible of me to just try for a baby again regardless of timing? Work is very important but I also feel timing babies around work may be a fool’s errand.

I’m curious to hear what other readers have to say, but of course I have some thoughts. As a mother of two kids under 5, my advice to those of you trying to plan your career around eventually having a baby: Don’t. Some notes:

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Planning for Babies

Planning for Babies | Corporette

2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on planning your career for babies

Over at’s The Careerist, Vivia Chen ponders one of the most interesting lessons from Sheryl Sandberg’s TED talk: “Don’t leave before you leave.” As she notes:

But it was Sandberg’s third point that really stopped me in my tracks: Women sabotage their own careers because they consciously or unconsciously put the brakes on their jobs. Often young women are so concerned about balancing work and family that they pull back from challenging work–even at the starting gate.

This was also one of the most interesting points to me, if only because I know that I’ve done this to some degree, and so have other friends.   (Pictured: Naked Mohawk-Baby Carrot Jockeys, from the fabulous humor blog Cake Wrecks.) So let’s talk about this:

1) Did you plan your career with a family juggle in mind? I know one friend who, upon starting her MBA, was interested in the investment banking track — and she was overwhelmed with “don’t do it” advice from other people, all of whom pointed out that no women do that track because the job requires too much.

2) Have you changed your career due to babies on your brain? How so? I think I can speak for a lot of women when I say that babies and the family juggle were absolutely not on my mind when I applied to law school — ah, the hubris of youth!  It was only several years later, in my late 20s, when friends started to have kids, that I took a long look at working conditions of the few supervisors I worked with who were mothers and seriously assessed my career options.

3) For those of you *with* kids — what’s your advice to those of us without kids? Plan ahead?  Roll with the punches? What job benefits have you found absolutely essential to you as a mother? Flex time? Ability to work from home?  For those of you who quit jobs over lack of certain benefits, or if you have a wishlist of benefits, which ones would you like to see?

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