Family Planning - When and how to plan

Planning a family basically means figuring out when you want children, how many you want, and how long you choose to wait between pregnancies. It is always recommended that you discuss these things before marriage. It is going to be a major sticking point in a relationship if you want four children and your partner's idea of family is a parakeet.

When to have a family is also important. If you are in your twenties or early thirties and wish to have children, you have several years for doing so. If you are in your late thirties or older, having children may be an immediate priority. This is true for both men and women. Although most men are physically capable of fathering children throughout their lives, they should be young enough to participate actively in the raising of the children. If you father a child when you are 51 years old, you will be 72 when the child graduates from college. This is something to consider when you make the decision to become a parent.

Any plan should leave room for flexibility. Priorities and situations may change during the course of a relationship. Both partners should be aware of this possibility and be flexible to the shifting situations.

Almost no couple expects problems with fertility or conception when they plan a family. Yet approximately 10 percent of all couples have enough difficulty conceiving that they require fertility testing or treatment.

For those whom infertility is not an issue, planning pregnancies involves decisions about birth control and spacing of pregnancies.

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