Friday, November 19, 2010

Reproductive Life Planning

50% of all pregancies in America are unplanned. In an age with so many contraceptive choices, how is this happening? Here is one example of what a reproductive life plan might look like. Produced by the Office of Minority Health, it is meant to get people of reproductive age to stop and think about what their goals for parenthood really are.

Do You Want Children?
Yes, then When? How many? What conditions need to be right?
No, then how are you avoiding pregnancy?

On the back, it asks you to put in writing what your plans are. Of course the plan can change at any moment. Both women and men should be aware of their partner's plan - though no one can force the other to change their own. For example, a man should not force his female partner to take oral contraceptive, but if he doesn't want to become a father and she doesn't want to be on the pill, he should use a condom or abstain from sex. Men shouldn't just leave decisions about contraception to women. They should play an active role in their own sexual health.

It may seem obvious to prepare yourself for parenthood, but clearly not enough couples are following through. This is a great preconception activity, especially for young people.

* In my presentation on STIs and Pregnancy, I emphasized that plans for avoiding STIs and Pregnancy can overlap sometimes but not always. When refering to the A,B,C method of prevention, A(bstinence) and C(ondoms) can work to avoid both STIs and Pregnancy. But the B is more tricky. (B)eing Faithful to your partner can work to avoid STIs, but not pregnancy. And (B)irth Control including oral contraceptives, IUDs and spermicidal jellies will help against pregnancy, but not against STIs.

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