4. Are you physically ready?You may tick all the other boxes but is your body in the best shape? "Someone once said your womb is like a flowerbed, so preparing it well to grow a healthy seed into a strong plant is essential," says Reith. If you are actively trying to conceive, it's a good idea to see your gynecologist for a preconception check-up and ask her for advice about diet and lifestyle that will be beneficial.
Look to pack as many nutrients into your diet as possible, including folic acid (crucial for fetal development), calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids (from low mercury fish or flaxseed). Start taking prenatal vitamins several months before trying to conceive, if possible, and cut your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
5. Becoming a full-time mom: Are you ready?If you're planning to invest as much time as you can on your baby, are you ready to give up your career to look after her? Making the jump from being a working woman to being a full-time mom can be a big 'culture shock' if you're mentally unprepared for it. "Put in very simplistic terms, you're mainly using your brain at work whereas with a newborn, your body will be pushed and pulled in all directions," explains Helen Letchfield, co-founder and principal facilitator of Parenting for Professions in the UK. Plus, most new moms aren't prepared for the sudden lack of human interactions that they used to have with their co-workers, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Letchfield has some advice for adjusting to the changes, including:
Use your maternity leave to get used to a slower pace of life than you may currently be used to.
Remain in control. If the thought of having far less structure in your life brings you out in a cold sweat, Letchfield suggests creating to-do lists to bring some degree of control back.
Schedule in opportunities to socialise with family and friends to break the isolation and gain some additional support.
6. Are you waiting too long?Ultimately, every parent wants the best for their children, to raise them in the ideal environment, cushioned with the ideal financial stability. And there's an increasing trend for couples to put off having a baby until they're in their late thirties or forties. The ironic part, however, is that our biological clock is slowly ticking away.
So the bottom-line is really about striking the right balance between your dream to provide well for your baby and your desire to give her a healthy headstart physically. Whether you're ready to be parents is subjective, but you'll know when you are.
Quiz: Are You Ready For A Baby? Take our quiz to get a better idea of whether you're ready to take the plunge.