Reproductive Life Planning

What is a reproductive life plan?

A reproductive life plan is a set of personal goals about having or not having children. It also states how to achieve those goals. Everyone needs to make a reproductive life plan based on their own values, goals, and resources.

Why is a reproductive life plan important?

A reproductive life plan is important for your personal well-being, whether or not you plan to have children.  Planning if and when to have children helps you think about how you want to live your life and achieve your goals.  Almost half of pregnancies in California are unplanned and could happen at a time when a woman’s health or social situation is not ideal.  Making a reproductive life plan can help ensure that you are healthy and ready if you choose to get pregnant.

How do I make a reproductive life plan?

There are many kinds of reproductive life plans. First, it is important to think about if you want to have children. If you do, think about when and under what conditions you want to become pregnant. If you do not plan to have children, think about how you will prevent pregnancy. Then take actions to help you achieve these goals, such as using effective birth control to prevent pregnancy before you want to become pregnant. Doctors and counselors can help you understand the options that are best for you. If you have had complications with a previous pregnancy, talk to your doctor about how to improve the health of your next pregnancy if you choose to have another child.

What does a reproductive life plan look like?

Your plan will depend on your personal goals and dreams. Think about your goals for school, for your job or career, and for other important things in your life. Then think about how a family fits in with your plans. Here are some examples of types of reproductive life plans: 

  • “I’m not ready to have children now because I want to finish school first. I’ll make sure I don’t get pregnant. Either I won’t have sex, or I’ll use birth control, every time!”
  • “I want to have children when my relationship feels secure and I’ve saved enough money. I have diabetes so, when it’s time, I’ll go see my doctor to make sure my body is ready for pregnancy. In the meantime, I’m taking really good care of myself just for me.”
  • “I am in a stable relationship and am taking good care of my health.  I am ready to stop using birth control and will try to get pregnant.” 
  • “I’ve had two kids, and they were only a year apart. Both times, it just happened. I want to have another kid, but I want to wait at least two years. I’ll talk to my doctor about timing between pregnancies. This time, I’m going to make sure I only get pregnant when I want to. 
  • “I’m just going to let pregnancy happen whenever it happens. Since I don’t know when that will be, I’m making sure that I’m in the best health now, just in case!”
  • “My partner and I are ready to have a child, but we’ll need to use a sperm bank of fertility service to get pregnant. I’ll make sure I’m in good health before we use those services.” 
  • “I’ve decided that I don’t want to have any children. I will find a good birth control method, or I will talk to my doctor about permanent birth control methods.” 

To learn about how to make your own plan and see sample reproductive life planning tools, visit the websites below.

An important part of making a reproductive life plan is thinking about how to get and stay healthy. Browse this website to learn more about how to achieve a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy environment.

Available Resources
Need information on different types of birth control methods, how they are used and how effective they are? This information on "Choosing Your Birth Control Method" from California's Family PACT Program may be useful for you.
Keywords: contraception; birth control; condoms; reproductive health; STDs; prevent pregnancy; family planning; Family PACT
Text LAFAMILIA to 55000 to sign up for a free text message program to take charge of your health! Get tips on family planning, contraception options and other health topics. Available in English and Spanish.
The South Los Angeles Health Projects/Los Angeles BioMed Women Infants and Children Program composed a reproductive life plan to help women periodically consider their life goals, to make plans to have a healthy interbirth interval, to make plans to stay healthy and to discuss their life plans with their partners. The plan is available in English and Spanish.
Keywords: reproductive life plan, parents, women with children, after a baby, interbirth interval, interpregnancy interval
Many states have developed reproductive life plans. Here you may download more FREE plans to help you identify your goals and be in good health, whether you want to have a baby or not.
Keywords: life plan; reproductive life planning; preconception; before pregnancy; prevent pregnancy; unintended pregnancy; Delaware; North Carolina; Utah
For downloading or printing, the PDF version of reproductive life planning information from EveryWomanCalifornia is available here.
Keywords: reproductive life plan; life plan; contraception; pregnancy plan; vision; goals; pregnancy timing
Coined as a “free support network for birth control,” the new site allows young women to explore available methods of contraception, set up birth control and appointment reminders and watch videos from young women sharing their own experiences about birth control.
Keywords: contraception; birth control; condoms; reproductive health; STDs; prevent pregnancy; family planning
Find out if you qualify for FREE family planning services through the Family PACT (Planning, Access, Care, Treatment) Program in California.
Keywords: contraception; birth control; condoms; reproductive health; STDs; prevent pregnancy; family planning; Family PACT
Frequently asked questions about birth control methods from womenshealth.gov. Includes descriptions of various types of birth control.
Keywords: contraception; birth control; condoms; reproductive health; STDs; prevent pregnancy; family planning
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