Reproductive Life Planning

Healthy Before Pregnancy

March of Dimes

NC Preconception Health


Reproductive life planning:

Lesson Plan 5

What’s your plan?

The possibility of having a baby is way off in the future

Having sex but not ready for kids?

Already a parent but think more children might fit into your plan?

Never want to be a parent?

Have you heard of….

Pregnancy intendedness?

Unintended pregnancies:

What’s the big deal?

Women are more likely to have:

Babies that are too small

Babies that die before their first birthday

Unintended pregnancies:

What’s the big deal?

Women are less likely to:

Be taking a daily multivitamin

Seek prenatal care in the first trimester

Be healthy during pregnancy

Breastfeed their babies

What is a

Reproductive Life Plan?

Part of an overall LIFE plan

Determining when (and if) having children fits into your life plan

Taking steps to achieve optimal physical health, emotional well-being and financial independence and stability PRIOR to starting a family

Your overall LIFE plan

What are your personal goals?



Romantic partnership


Life experiences


If and when…

Do you want to become a parent at all?

If yes, at what age?

If yes, what other accomplishments do you want to have achieved first?

If yes, what would you like to have in place first?

If and when…

If you want to be a parent at some point how many children would you like to have?

How far apart would you like your children to be spaced ?

Teen mothers have...

Increased risk of premature and low birth weight babies

Higher rates of infant death (babies dying)

Higher rates of smoking

Less access to prenatal care

Higher risk of premature labor, anemia and high blood pressure

Less education and higher rates of poverty

Teen pregnancy in NC

58.6 out of every

1,000 teen girls ages

15 to 19 became pregnant in 2008

Minority teens at higher risk

Hispanic teens at especially high risk

Teens in rural counties are at higher risk than urban

Don’t be in the “Fog Zone”

Align your plans for pregnancy and family with your sexual choices

Getting ready: Physical health

Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms

(mcg) of folic acid every day

Get wellness checkups every year and regular dental checkups

Eat healthy food, maintain a healthy weight and get/stay fit

Getting ready: Physical health

Understand the risks of certain prescription drugs if you were to become pregnant

Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke

Stop drinking alcohol

Don’t use illegal drugs

Getting ready: Physical health

Use safe sex practices (ie: condoms) to avoid sexually transmitted infections because some can harm a fetus

Avoid hazardous substances and chemicals

Talk to you health care provider about your family history, genetics and birth defects

Find healthy ways to manage stress

Getting ready: Emotional well-being

Do you want to have a baby?

How will a child affect your relationship with your partner? Are you both ready to become parents?

If you’re not in a relationship, are you prepared to raise a child alone? Who will help you?

Getting ready: Emotional well-being

How will a baby affect your education or career plans?

Do you and your partner have religious or ethnic differences?

What will you do for child care?

Are you prepared to parent a child who is sick or has special needs?

Getting ready: Emotional well-being

Are you ready to give up most of your free time to care for a child?

Do you enjoy spending time with children?

What do you want for your child?

Getting ready: Financial independence

Are you financially independent?

Do you have a steady income and health insurance?

Can you provide the type of home, transportation, food, clothes, diapers, etc. that a baby needs?

What about childcare?

Getting ready: Financial independence

Babies and kids are expensive—Child care, food, clothing and doctor’s appointments add up!

New social norm

Unless you are seeking pregnancy and are committed to the years that it takes to raise children, take active steps to prevent pregnancy now

New social norm

Young men should take a leadership role in their romantic relationships to prevent pregnancy if a pregnancy is not fully intended at that time

Take care of yourself

The health and lifestyle choices you make today can affect the health of your future family

Revisit your reproductive life plan at least once a year

Advocate for yourself, your body and your life goals

New social norm

Don’t resign yourself to the idea of

“If it happens, it happens”

Take control over your own reproductive lives today, tomorrow and in years to come