Your Reproductive Life Plan:
A reproductive life plan is taking into consideration your priorities, goals, values, and personal health when planning whether or not to have children and when might be the right time for you.
You have the control over your own reproductive life plan and to make decisions about:
- Having children or not having children
- When to have a child
- How you plan to have children
“If you don't have a plan to prevent pregnancy, you have a plan to get pregnant” (Toronto Public Health)
What's Your Plan?
With approximately 50% of all Canadian pregnancies being unplanned, planning before having a baby can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. Preconception health refers to the health of all individuals during their reproductive years and is important to consider regardless of your gender or sexual orientation (OPHA, 2014).
There are many choices that you can make to take control over your health & reproductive plan, regardless of whether you plan to have children or not. Making these positive choices will improve your health and will help your chances of having a healthy baby if you choose to.
The following provides you with information you may want to consider depending on where you are in your current Reproductive Life Plan.
What's Your Plan if…
You Want to Have a Baby Someday, but not Right Now?
- Consider your life situation. Are you physically, mentally and financially ready to have a baby? Think about what supports and resources you have available to you to support your pregnancy and life with a new baby.
- Live a healthy lifestyle by choosing healthy eating options, staying physically active, keeping immunizations up to date, being smoke-free, limiting alcohol and drug use, and limiting your exposure to harmful chemicals. It is important for women who could become pregnancy to be taking a multivitamin with folic acid every day.
- Use birth control and practice safer sex. Until you are ready to get pregnant, use a birth control method that works for you and reduce your risk of becoming infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by practicing safer sex.
- Have regular check-ups with your health care provider. Be sure to discuss your preconception health and reproductive life plan with your healthcare provider. This includes screening for and managing any medical conditions, and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For women, it is important to be taking a multi-vitamin with 0.4mg of folic acid before you get pregnant and in the first few weeks of pregnancy to reduce your baby's risk of having a neural tube defects (NTD).
- Ensure your immunizations are up to date. This includes immunizations for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), hepatitis B, varicella, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) and human papillomavirus (HPV). Some of these illnesses while pregnant can lead to birth defects. Men should also ensure their immunizations are up to date as well before planning a pregnancy because some of these infections could damage the sperm. Being fully immunizes will also reduce the risk of infection your partner.
- Access supports when needed. There are many life stressors that can sometimes interfere with daily life. It is important to have a support system of family, friends, or a health care provider to discuss any feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. Stress can make it more difficult to maintain good health habits and can also make it more difficult to have a baby. If you or your partner has a history of depression, talking to a health care provider or accessing other community supports before pregnancy can decrease the risk of depression during pregnancy and after the baby is born.