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How to Prepare Your Career for Parenthood

Having a baby doesn't mean you have to leave your career behind, but juggling motherhood with work isn't always easy. Here's what you need to know -- and discuss -- before Baby comes along.

When you decide the time is right to have a baby, you probably realize a lot of changes are coming. But in addition to bringing on the physical and emotional changes everyone talks about, a baby will inevitably affect every aspect of your lifestyle, including your career.

Managing a baby and a career is often referred to as a balancing act, and for good reason -- there's a lot of juggling involved, and women often feel guilt, stress, frustration, and pressure in their attempts to manage both worlds.

So before you start trying to conceive, think about what you're going to do about work after you become a mom, and consider the questions you need to ask (of both your partner and your employer), your childcare options, and the financial scenarios of part-time work and staying at home. That way, you can determine the best work-baby set-up for you and your family.