If you are having sex or planning on becoming sexually active, it is important to think about your reproductive life in general. A reproductive life plan (RLP) is a set of personal goals about having or not having children. Planning if and when to have children helps you think about how you want to live your life, achieve your goals and ensure that you are healthy and ready if you wish to become pregnant. Not everyone believes in planning for pregnancy. That’s okay. Some people feel so overwhelmed getting by day to day that planning can feel like too much. That’s okay too. Plans change often too – that is common. Some people might be undecided about whether or not they want to have a child or another child for years – that is okay too! Any which way, it can be helpful regardless to imagine if you might like to have children in your life in the same way that you may think about your education and career.
Consider asking yourself:
Do I want to have children?
- If yes, think about when and under what conditions you want to become pregnant. For example, do you want to be married or in a serious relationship before you become pregnant, finish school, travel to a certain number of places, or have a certain amount of money? These conditions will be different for every person.
- If no, think about how you will prevent pregnancy
When you have answered this question, begin taking actions to help you achieve your goals. If you are in a relationship with someone of the same gender and wish to get pregnant you may want to find an LGBTQ+ fertility specialist who can support your journey. If you know you’d like to have a big family, you might want to think about issues related to fertility and perhaps start your family when you are at a younger age.
If you do not want to become pregnant, birth control gives you the power to prevent pregnancy and decide when you would like to start a family. Your healthcare provider can help you determine what birth control option best fits your life. Your insurance may cover the cost of your birth control. There are many resources where you can research different birth control methods to get an idea of what would work best for you.
Here are some of our favorite contraception, pregnancy, and family planning tools:
Bedsider – contraception locator tool to find services in your area, information and quizzes to find out which method might be best for you.
PowerMeA2Z – great, comprehensive booklet to track your goals and learn about staying healthy.
My Life, My Plan – resource with great prompts to set goals and consider how you’ll reach those life goals.
Womens Health.gov – more information on different birth control methods
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, click The CDC page on infertility has more information.