True reproductive health means that you are in a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Reproductive health is wider than simply preventing disease or illness related to the reproductive system. Reproductive health doesn’t just mean having healthy pregnancies.
Reproductive health is about understanding the entire male and female reproductive system, from puberty all the way to old age.
Reproductive health includes preventative measures when it comes to cervical or ovarian cancer in women as well as prostate cancer in men.
• Access to the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls.
• Access to safe and reliable birth control for all sexually active persons.
• Access to sexual education for both genders, on an age-appropriate spectrum throughout primary and high school.
• Access to fertility care as well as pre- and post-natal healthcare for all mothers and infants.
• Screening for sexually transmitted diseases as well as the necessary care after diagnosis.
Providing the necessary support and treatment for people who have experienced any kind of Sexual trauma as soon as possible and creating structures through which they can continue to receive the care they need and deserve, plays an important part in ensuring that a society has a good understanding of the importance of reproductive wellness and informed, consensual, and non-harmful sexual activities
A healthy reproductive system should be within reach of all members of a society. To achieve this, the stigma around sexual and reproductive health should be lifted, and open, factual discussions should be held between adults and children, even before they reach puberty
There should be no shame around sexual curiosity and children should feel comfortable to ask questions about their bodies.
Partners who are trying to conceive should seek guidance and assistance from trusted and trained medical professionals, to ensure that they have the optimal chances of a healthy and fulfilling pregnancy and birth.
We suggest that the following factors should be taken into account and discussed with your choses medical professional before embarking on this exciting new chapter:
• Ask for a broad-spectrum screening for any sexually transmittable diseases, for both partners. (Many of these diseases can be harmful to an unborn child but can be successfully treated and cured if properly diagnosed.)
• Have a frank discussion about male and female fertility as well as factors that might influence it, including lifestyle, diet and medication, medical history and environmental factors
Understand (and ask questions if needed) your menstrual cycle, and how this influences your own fertile days. To help you with this, there are many free cycle-tracking apps available for your smartphone. Being aware of when you are most fertile can help you conceive faster. Take note that focussing on this unduly can create stress and stress reduces fertility for both men and women. So be informed, but stay relaxed. According to the National Health Service of the United Kingdom, 84% of couples who regularly have sex, will fall pregnant within a year of trying to conceive. According to the NHS website:
Most couples (about 84 out of every 100) will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and don’t use contraception.
Women become less fertile as they get older.
One study found that among couples having regular unprotected sex:
• aged 19 to 26–92% will conceive after 1 year and 98% after 2 years
• aged 35 to 39–82% will conceive after 1 year and 90% after 2 years
The effect of age on men’s fertility is less clear.
In general, and without a diagnosis of one of the factors that can influence fertility, it is only necessary to speak to your GP about your struggle after more than a year of trying to fall pregnant.
Once you have a confirmed pregnancy the next step is to inform your doctor and schedule your first check-up.
Based on your age, health and medical history, your doctor will inform you if you should be extra cautious. Your doctor will also start speaking to you about a birth plan and what to expect in the later stages of pregnancy.
The Mediplus Mobile App has a free pregnancy tracker to guide you through the next couple of months. The journey through childhood and puberty all the way to sexual maturity is a long road for both men and woman. With Mediplus at your side, you can ensure that you and your loved ones are in the best hands when it comes to reproductive health at all ages.