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.  Becoming a father is a life-changing event. Almost half of pregnancies in California are unplanned and could happen at a time when a man is not ready to have a child. Making a reproductive life plan can help ensure that you are healthy and ready if you choose to have a child.

How do I make a reproductive life plan?

There are many kinds of reproductive life plans. First, it is important to think about whether you want to have children. If you do, think about when and under what conditions you want to become a father. 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. Becoming a father means taking on new responsibilities to provide emotional and financial support for your family. Planning when to become a father can help you to be better prepared. If you do not plan to have children, think about how you will prevent pregnancy. Talk to your partner about your plan and how you will achieve your goals together.

What does a reproductive life plan look like?

Your plan will depend on your personal goals and dreams. Decide with your partner which method of birth control you will use to prevent pregnancy before you want to become parents. Doctors and counselors can help you understand the options that are best for you. Also talk with your doctor about how to make sure you are healthy and ready to have a child. Click to learn more about how to achieve a healthy body, a healthy mind, and a healthy environment.

Here are some examples of types of reproductive life plans:

  • “I’d like to be a father after I finish school and have a job to support a family. For now, I’ll talk to my partner about her goals for starting a family. Until we’re ready to have a baby, I’ll make sure we use effective contraception every time.
  • My partner and I are ready to have a baby. I’ll visit my doctor to make sure I’m in good health before we start trying. I’ll encourage my partner to see her doctor too. I want to make sure we have a healthy baby!”
  • “I want to be a father some day, but right now my life is too stressful to start a family. I’ll take care of myself now so that I’m healthy when my partner and I decide to start a family in the future.”
  • “I’m not in a relationship right now, and I know that I’m not ready to become a father, so I’ll make sure I use protection every time I have sex.
  • "I have one kid, but my partner and I want to wait two years before we have another. In the meantime, I’ll keep myself healthy and make sure we use birth control every time."
  • "My partner and I have decided that we don’t want to have any children. We will find a good birth control method, or I’ll talk to my doctor about permanent birth control methods.”
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
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
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
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.
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