If you do not want to become a parent, or if you are not sure, it is about choosing an effective method of birth control to prevent a pregnancy for you and your partner.
What does a Reproductive Life Plan look like?
Your plan will depend on your personal goals and dreams. Think about school, job, career and other important things in your life.
- Where do you see yourself in the next five years? The next ten years?
- Do you see yourself in a relationship? Or single?
- Do you see yourself in school? Or working?
Think about how children fit in with your plans. Do you want to be a parent someday?
- How old do you want to be when you have your first (or next) child?
- How many children do you want to have?
- How far apart do you want your children to be?
- How will being a parent affect your ability to reach your other goals?
If you are not sure or do not want to be pregnant right now:
- What is your plan to prevent yourself or your partner from getting pregnant?
- What will you do if you or your partner ends up getting pregnant anyway?
Whether or not you want children, the best thing you can do for yourself is to choose and start healthy behaviors now. Here are some behaviors that will keep you healthy:
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
- Exercise regularly. Take a walk, ride your bike to work or school, or go for a swim
- Get regular checkups with your health care provider and dentist
- Get enough sleep
- Use condom to protect yourself from infection
- Women should take a daily multivitamin that contains folic acid, (helps prevent birth defects). These vitamins need to be taken before a woman gets pregnant, as well as during pregnancy.
Talking to Your Health Care Provider:
Healthy You, Healthy Pregnancy
If you want to have a baby, talk to your health care provider at least three months ahead of time. The healthiest pregnancy is a planned pregnancy.
- If you are sexually active, get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STls), including HIV/AIDS. STls can cause serious pregnancy problems, general health problems and infertility.
- Behaviors that increase your health risks during pregnancy include smoking, drinking alcohol, using illegal drugs, using prescription drugs recreationally, and unhealthy dieting or overeating. If you need help quitting any of these habits, please talk with your health care provider.
Vaccines (also called immunizations) help protect you from illness and disease. Make sure they are up-to-date before you get pregnant.
Some medications are not safe to take during pregnancy. Let your health care provider know what prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements you are taking.
Family Health History:
Health issues often run in families. If you or anyone in your family has had heart concerns, previous pregnancy complications, mental health concerns, diabetes, genetic concerns, or any other medical concerns, please let your health care provider know.
Abuse is NEVER okay. Emotional abuse, even without physical violence, is abuse. Are any of the following thing happening to you?
- Does your partner isolate you from your friends, family and outside activities?
- Does your partner threaten you?
- Does your partner call you names?
- Has your partner forced you to do something sexually you did not want to do and/or ever physically hurt you?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, please talk with your health care provider.
Stress can affect your health. Talk with your health care provider on developing healthy ways for managing stress.
- Do you ever feel depressed or anxious?
- Do you ever have thoughts of hurting yourself or anyone else?
If so, please talk to your health care provider right away.
Having a child is expensive. Some things to think about include: Cost of child care, having a place to live, groceries, transportation, health, dental and auto insurance, student or other loans, baby supplies (diapers, furniture, and clothes). Creating a financial plan will help you prepare.
Take the time to put together your own Reproductive Life Plan. It will help you avoid surprises, and gives you control over your future.
You have the power to make these important choices for your life.