Today, it’s not uncommon at all to see blended families making their way through life together. Sometimes, a couple have children from previous relationships and are happy with what they already have and some people choose to add to their new unit. Choosing to have another baby is a deeply and profoundly personal decision, even if you’re still with the father of your older children. Once kids get more independent, it can be hard to decide whether to give up that freedom. Here are some things to consider as you make your choice.

Talk to Your Family

Of course, the first person you should talk to is your partner and, if you are both considering having a baby, talk to your other children about it. After all, this will also affect their lives and it is important that they feel like their needs and opinions are valued and heard. You might be surprised by the unexpected support you receive! It is also important to listen to any concerns others may have. While you might be swept up with baby fever, you may be overlooking some things that warrant your consideration.

See Your Doctor

Before conceiving your baby, schedule an appointment with your doctor to make sure your health is where it needs to be. Identify any potential problems so that you can make a decision with a clearer picture of how pregnancy will affect your body. The health of your child’s father matters as well, so he should probably have a physical too.

Get in Shape

You will probably gain weight during your pregnancy and your body will definitely undergo some major changes. Growing a baby is hard work! Childbirth also requires a great deal of strength and, sometimes, endurance and this is all before your child is born! You will want to be in decent shape as you chase a baby around on very little sleep. The best time to improve your fitness regime is well before you even get pregnant. Walking and swimming are great options but many expectant mothers use yoga to improve flexibility, reduce stress and develop muscle tone.

Eat Better

If you have older children, you may have slipped into the habit of nibbling on chicken nuggets and hot dogs but your pregnant body will need better fuel to give your baby the best start in life. As soon as you start talking about conceiving, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables and pay attention to how much sodium, sugar and caffeine you’re consuming. While less healthy pregnancy cravings often occur, their impact will be minimized if you mainly stick to a well-rounded diet.

Relax

Take time for yourself and do things that nurture your soul. Whether it’s reading a book, meditating or going for a bike ride, make your mental, emotional and physical well-being a priority. Extend this to your family relationships as well. We spend so much time rushing around in order to get things done that we rarely just decompress and enjoy each other’s company. Bringing a new addition into the family will feel a lot easier if everyone is already feeling connected and included.

Whatever you choose to do, make your decisions based on what’s best for you and your family.  When you make a choice from the heart, you may be amazed by what love can do.