Do you have a reproductive life plan? If not, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) wants you to write one.
A reproductive life plan simply indicates whether you’re going to have children or not, and how you’ll achieve that goal.
For example, if you don’t want children, how will you prevent pregnancy? If you’re not ready for children, how can you delay pregnancy? What health risks should you address now so that you can enter pregnancy as healthy as possible? When you and your partner both get healthy and prepared before pregnancy, research shows your efforts create better outcomes for all.
Build your plan
Think about education, your career, and other important things in your life. How does having a family fit in that picture? Let your values and circumstances guide your plan as an individual or as a couple. Make your plan personal and achievable; you can still change it whenever you want. You may even find that creating your reproductive life plan brings other goals into focus and puts you on the path to achieving what you want most out of life. Build your plan online at cdc.gov/preconception/reproductiveplan.html.
- “We want to get pregnant but I know my diabetes can complicate that for me and baby. I’ll talk to my healthcare provider to learn what I need to do before we start trying to conceive.”
- “I’m not ready for children. To prevent pregnancy, either I won’t have sex, or I’ll use contraception every time.”
- “I’d like to have a stable job to support my family, so first, I’ll finish my degree. I’ll talk about children with my spouse, and we’ll use contraception every time until we’re both ready for a baby.”
- “My baby is 3 months old and I want to space my pregnancies by at least 2 years. I’ll visit my certified nurse midwife to make plans so that I don’t have another baby before I’m ready.”
Do This Before Conceiving
According to the CDC the 5 most important things a woman can do for preconception health are:
1. Take 400mcg of folic acid a day for at least 3 months before becoming pregnant to reduce the risk of birth defects.
2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
3. If you currently have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Conditions include but are not limited to asthma, diabetes, gum disease, obesity, or epilepsy. Be sure that your vaccinations are up to date.
4. Talk to your healthcare provider about any over the counter and prescription medicines you are taking, including vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements.
5. Avoid exposures to toxic substances or potentially infectious materials at work or at home, such as chemicals or cat and rodent feces.
Men matter, too:
- Make an appointment with your healthcare provider.
- Maximize nutrition and sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and other dangerous substances.
- Keep your testicles cool.
- Avoid exposing your partner to toxins from a work environment.
- Know your family health history.
- Quit smoking.
- Treat STDs.
Also read: Powerful Pregnancy