Planning For Pregnancy
If you've long since decided you don't want to have a baby, you may be surprised to learn that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all men and women ponder the idea of a reproductive life plan. First of all, all women should take steps to lead a healthy lifestyle, whether or not they intend to become pregnant. The most basic concepts related to healthy conception and delivery can be applied across the board to all women and men. For instance, eating healthy nutritious foods, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and getting enough exercise are measures that bode well for men or women of any age, regardless of their intentions to have or not have a child.
But it also pays to consider that the majority of pregnancies in the United States, over half, are unplanned. That makes it prudent for sexually active women to consider their overall health. Since women may not know they are pregnant at any given point, they should attempt to avoid risk factors that could cause potential harm to a fetus. For instance, taking medications that are known to cause birth defects should be avoided, if possible, by women of childbearing age, even if they aren't planning to become pregnant.
But back to the reproductive life plan: men and women should consider what might be the best time and conditions under which they might have children. They should then consider how these goals might be achieved. One factor may be deciding on an effective contraceptive. Pregnancy is only one factor that affects women's health, but knowing and understanding the various issues that impact on their health, empowers women to make the correct life choices.
The reproductive life plan is about creating objectives related to having or not having a child or children. A good plan includes the means toward these objectives. The plan is an individual thing that is set up based on each person's resources and values. Here are examples of topics to address in a reproductive life plan:
*Since I don't want to have children right now, I want to make sure I don't conceive. That means avoiding heterosexual relations or the correct use of an effective method of contraception.
*Once I'm in a committed, secure relationship, and I am financially secure, I will want to have children. Until then, I won't become pregnant. At that point, I will secure an appointment with my doctor to talk about preconception care. I will only attempt conception once I am deemed in good health.
*Once I graduate from college and am holding down a decent job, I will want to be a daddy. While I'm on my way to achieving these goals, I'll discuss with my wife her own goals about creating a family and make sure we're using effective birth control until we decide it's time to conceive.
*I want to have three children, spaced every three years. I will seek advice on preconception care and how to use birth control to achieve these aims.
*I welcome any and all children and hope to become pregnant right away. Since I have no idea when this will occur, I want to make sure I'm in the best possible health for sustaining a healthy pregnancy.
As you can see, a reproductive life plan can be tailored to any individual desires and lifestyles. The main thing is to consider and come up with a general scheme of how your see your reproductive life. Once you've written up a plan, make every effort to follow through so that everything you do leads toward these goals. You may want to talk to a health care provider about the ways you might improve your lifestyle to achieve your objectives.