Reproductive Life Plan

You're sure: you never want to have a baby. Bet you'd be surprised to find out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises all men and women to consider the idea of creating a reproductive life plan. For one thing, every woman should try to lead a healthy lifestyle, independent of whether she wants to get pregnant or not. Besides, healthy habits that ensure a successful pregnancy are important for the health of every man and woman, regardless of their desire to have offspring or not.

Most Pregnancies Are Unplanned

For example, maintaining proper nutrition, getting regular exercise, cutting out alcohol, quitting smoking, and reducing caffeine intake can only be good for the health of all men and women at any age. This has nothing to do with conception.

However, it's important to note that most United States pregnancies, more than half of them, are unplanned. That makes it just plain common sense for a woman who is sexually active and heterosexual to think about her general health. The earliest stages of a pregnancy usually occur outside of a woman's consciousness. She just doesn't know she's pregnant. Yet, this is the danger time when major irreversible birth defects can occur.

Early Weeks Of Pregnancy

Since a woman has no idea she is pregnant, there is nothing to tell her to change her habits during this crucial time period when making some lifestyle changes could spare her and her infant serious tragedy. That's why doctors are now recommending that women of childbearing age avoid medications that have a known link to birth defects, whether or not the woman is planning or trying to conceive. 

In addition to these considerations, adults are urged to create a reproductive life plan in which women and men lay out their ideas about the ideal timing and conditions for them to consider conception and how this might be achieved. Part of this planning may revolve around finding the most effective contraception. Pregnancy is just one of many factors that can have an effect on a woman's health, yet gaining familiarity with health issues can empower women toward making the right lifestyle choices.

Life plans are geared to the individual and his/her needs, since it will be based on that person's values and resources. See the following examples that illustrate the concept of the life plan and use them as a basis for creating your own, individualized reproductive life plan.

*I'm not ready to have a child at present. For this reason, I wish to avoid pregnancy. I will either avoid heterosexual relationships or learn the correct manner for using an efficient type of contraceptive.

*I want to have children, but not until I'm in a decent relationship and have savings. For now, I won't try to have a baby. When I decide it's time, I'll schedule an appointment with my physician to discuss preconception care. I won't try to conceive until the doctor gives me a bill of good preconception health.

*I want as many children as nature/God sees fit to give me. To that end, I will make sure I maintain best preconception health by seeking preconception counseling and following my doctor's recommendations.

*I want two children spaced 5 years apart. I will seek preconception care and learn how to use contraception to achieve this goal.

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