A Reproductive Life Plan
A reproductive life plan helps you to set goals and understand how children may fit into your goals.
For example, what are your plans for school, work, and travel? How do children fit into these plans?
Reproductive life planning often includes thinking about:
- Your general medical health.
- Your emotional and mental health.
- Your family’s health history.
- Your reproductive health.
- Your support systems – family, friends and community services.
You can download a booklet on reproductive life planning for more information on this.
If you are sexually active and not planning a pregnancy, see your health care provider about the birth control method best for you.
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, discuss the following with your health care provider:
- Immunizations – Are they up-to-date? Immunizations can prevent diseases that may affect fertility or the health of a growing baby during pregnancy. Important vaccines include diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. Some vaccines cannot be given during pregnancy. Learn about the benefits of vaccination for you and your baby before, during and after pregnancy.
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure – Medical conditions impact pregnancy and fertility. Make sure your condition(s) is under good medical control before you become pregnant to improve your chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
- Family history – Are there genetic issues in your family that could impact a future baby? Some health conditions can be passed on to your baby. In some cases, a consultation with a geneticist may be needed.
- Folic acid – How much folic acid should you take? If you are a woman of reproductive age, you should take a multivitamin with at least 0.4 mg of folic acid each day to help prevent birth defects.
- Medication or herbal/natural supplements – If you are taking medications or supplements, can they affect fertility or the pregnancy? Share a list of all medications and supplements you take with your health care provider. Include medications that have a doctor’s prescription and any medication you buy without a prescription (e.g., medicine for headaches, colds, or upset stomach).
- Weight – Are you at a healthy weight? Being underweight or obese can lower your fertility and is linked to health problems during pregnancy and in newborns. Physical activity and healthy eating can help reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Alcohol, tobacco and drugs – Should you be concerned about using alcohol, tobacco or drugs? Is there help to cut back or stop? Alcohol, tobacco or drugs can affect your fertility, pregnancy and the health of a newborn. Find out more about alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
- Sexually transmitted infections – Do you need to be screened for sexually transmitted infections? Sexually transmitted infections can cause permanent damage to your ability to have children and health problems for you and your unborn baby.
- Environmental exposures – Should you be concerned with chemicals or products you are exposed to at work or at home? There are substances that can affect your health and fertility and have long-term effects on the health of a baby.
- Stress and mental health – Are there mental health issues you should be concerned about? Being a parent may add stress to your life and it may be possible to address issues before a pregnancy or becoming a parent.
- Oral health – Have you been seeing a dentist regularly? Problems with your teeth and gums may affect your health and your pregnancy.
- Relationships and social supports – Do you have concerns about your relationship? Partner violence and unhealthy relationships may affect your health and that of your baby. Having a baby will not make things better.
Many pregnancies are not planned. You may not know you are pregnant for a few weeks or months. During this time, the fetus grows rapidly and can be affected by a number of factors. For this reason, it is important for anyone who is planning to have a baby to be as healthy as possible. Find out how to do this by browsing through the various topics of this website.
To test your knowledge about healthy pregnancies, take this online Healthy Pregnancy Quiz.