Planning Makes Perfect

Even if you're 100% sure you're never going to want to have a child, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a recommendation that every man and woman create a reproductive life plan. One reason for this is that every person should be making an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This idea is independent of any thoughts of becoming pregnant.

No Matter

The basics of a healthy lifestyle apply whether or not you want to conceive and whether you are a man or a woman. For example, everybody should eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Everyone should avoid cigarettes, alcohol and too much caffeine. Every person should get enough exercise, too. It's no matter whether you are young or old, man or woman, or whether or not you want to have kids.

From the vantage point of the CDC, it's important to note that most U.S. pregnancies were unplanned. For this reason alone, a woman in her childbearing years who is sexually active and heterosexual should be taking the state of her own health into consideration.

A woman could be in the earliest stages of a pregnancy yet be unaware of this fact. Meantime, she could be indulging in behaviors that have the potential to harm a fetus. Some medications are known to cause birth defects, for instance. Women should avoid these medications, even if they have no plans to conceive.

As for creating a reproductive life plan, every man and woman should think about when and under what conditions they would like to have children. They should map out how they might achieve these goals. It may be a necessary part of your plan to find an efficient form of contraceptive that can be used in the interim. It's important to consider all of the issues that can affect your health and not just pregnancy, so that you can make the right choices throughout your life.

Identifying Objectives

Your reproductive life plan should help you identify your objectives in terms of having or not having children. Your plan should reflect your own values and resources. Here are some samples of topics you may wish to address in your reproductive life plan:

*For now, I don't want to have children. I want to be sure that I won't conceive. My choices are avoiding sex with the opposite gender or making sure I use an appropriate method of birth control and use it right.

*I want to have children but not until I'm in a good relationship and have financial security. Until that time, I will avoid becoming pregnant. When I think I'm ready to conceive, I'll make an appointment with my doctor to discuss preconception care. I won't try to conceive until the doctor gives me a clean bill of health.

*I want to father a child but only after I obtain an education and get a good job. Meantime, I will talk to my wife to compare notes about her family goals and check that we're using the best birth control for us.  

*I am ready to have three children but I want to space them every three years. I will make sure to have preconception care and learn the best way to use birth control to achieve my goals.

*Children are a blessing and I welcome any and all children. Since I won't plan my pregnancies, I will make sure that I am always in good, life-sustaining health.

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