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How do I Improve my Family Planning Health?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Family planning health may mean several things. It can refer to general health care that is related to not only planning or forestalling having a family but also to prevention of illnesses associated with sexual activity. Another definition can mean preserving health so that when people try to get pregnant they do so under the best of the conditions and with the most likelihood that no previous conditions will affect chance of conception. Alternately, family planning health can be a combination of all of these characteristics. Improving any of these issues typically begins by getting regular doctor’s care.

As soon as women become sexually active, and preferably before this point if they know they plan to be sexually active, they should see a gynecologist/obstetrician (ob/gyn) or see a doctor at a family planning clinic. It’s important to understand what sexual activity means and what risks it hazards, and to wisely choose methods that will prevent pregnancy. Here family planning clinics and ob/gyns are terrific sources of information, but even a family doctor can be helpful in this respect. Getting all information so that choices can be informed and sensible can overall lower risk for problems occurring later. Many conditions that create infertility are caused by sexually transmitted diseases, and having good guidance can help avoid some of these pitfalls.

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If sexual activity occurred first, it’s still important to get an exam. This way, counseling can still occur and women can determine how to safely protect themselves if they plan to continue being sexually active. An exam might be needed sooner if a woman is at least 18 and not yet sexually active or if any problems arise like extreme irregularities in menstrual periods, unusual discharge from the vagina occurs, or if conditions like ovarian cysts keep recurring. These conditions may have an overall impact on family planning health and should be investigated.

A yearly exam thereafter is necessary as part of family planning health, and if the conditions mentioned above occur, women shouldn’t wait a year. They should also plan to see a doctor right away if they have unprotected sex of any kind with a partner who has not been tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Often the burden of family planning health falls entirely on the female, but ideally both a man and woman should protect each other in this environment, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases, and supporting each other by using barrier birth control, and potentially another method too if pregnancy prevention is a goal. A long-term monogamous partnership may not have such rigorous requirements, provided faithfulness of either partner is not at issue.

In general, women who want to preserve family planning health are better off when they pursue monogamous relationships only. While everyone must choose their own path in this matter, having more than one partner, especially per year, puts women at risk for illnesses that could affect ability to get pregnant. Moreover, when women choose to get pregnant, it is better not to decide this on a whim but to look at lifestyle and determine how to be in the best health for pregnancy. This could include making sure that lifestyle choices don’t include tobacco or alcohol use, and that women take a folic acid supplement, usually as prescribed by a doctor. Many doctors also recommend that women discontinue use of hormonal birth control a few months prior to trying to get pregnant and clearly any devices like IUDs need to be removed too.

While attention to smart sexual behavior and protection is valuable, it’s also important to realize that family planning health or fertility can’t be fully preserved. Fertility declines as women age. From a parenting standpoint, a more mature woman might be slightly more adept at taking care of kids, though this varies, but the younger woman tends to have the advantage in ease of getting pregnant. Doctors often advise women who want children to try before they hit the age of 35, since fertility may sharply decrease and risk of conditions like Down syndrome greatly increases. However, not all people are able to plan with this type of accuracy or choice, and it can be stated many women in their late thirties or older do have healthy children, while sometimes younger women can have difficulty with conception due to medical conditions.

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