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Factors to Consider

There are many factors that a couple must take into consideration in deciding when or whether to have children. Prospective parents should ask themselves the following basic questions as they consider this important decision and they should share their answers to each of these questions with their partner.

  • Do I want to have children? (If so, why? If not, why not?)
  • What kind of parent will I be?
  • How do I view raising children?
  • How will a new baby affect our relationship?
  • What would my life be like without children?
  • How soon do I want children?

In addition to answering these questions together, couples should also consider issues of expectations, timing, finances, health, and marital stability before having children.

  • Expectations - Try and have realistic expectations about parenting. Being a parent can be very enjoyable and rewarding, but it also requires a lot of time, work, and sacrifice.
  • Timing - Have children when both you and your spouse are ready. Don't let yourself be pressured into it by friends or family. Proper timing involves a combination of many things (e.g., expectations, finances, health, and marital stability).
  • Finances - Raising a child is expensive. An average middle-income family will spend about $150,000 to raise a child from birth to 18 years of age. However, being able to afford a child is as much a question of values as one of income. You don't need a large income to raise children well.
  • Health - Younger women usually do better during pregnancy and have a lower likelihood of medical complications than older women. Older women who become pregnant may put themselves and their child at greater risk for health problems. Living a healthy life-style prior to and during pregnancy helps increase the odds that both mother and child will do well.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, November 28). Sexual Relations. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License