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Women's Health
Family Planning

What's in your future? Do you have a plan?

It's no secret; if you're having sex, you could get pregnant. Not ready for a baby right now? Then you definitely are ready for family planning. And if you just had a baby or are breastfeeding you can still get pregnant, so you need to do something about birth control too.

Benefits of Planning Your Family

When planning a family, you decide when to have a baby. You decide when not to have a baby. You decide how many children to have. You follow a plan.


  • Family planning reduces the chance of unplanned pregnancies.
  • Allows you time to reduce unhealthy habits so that you are more likely to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
  • Improves the chance you will achieve your goals.
  • Increases the chances of having a healthy baby when you are ready.

Note: An unplanned pregnancy can cause a lot of stress on you and your family. Planning your family can make things much easier.

How many children do you want to have?

Not sure you're ready? If you are ready now, are you baby-ready? Make sure you're health. No infections, ongoing health problems or bad habits. And is your partner ready? Deciding to have a child is an important decision. Two children are more than double the work, cost and responsibility. How will you prevent an unplanned or mistimed pregnancy?

How far apart do you want your children to be?

It's best to wait 18 months after giving birth to let your body recover before getting pregnant again.

How will you prevent an unplanned pregnancy?

Half of all pregnancies in North Carolina are unplanned. There are many types of birth control. Find a method that fits your body and your life. Each kind has advantages and disadvantages. If you try a method and don't like it, try another kind. (But don't have sex without being protected unless you're ready for a baby.) Keep condoms with you at all time so you can use them to help protect yourself from an unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

How to talk to your doctor about birth control:

Talking about sex can be tough enough with your partner, let alone in the doctor's office. But don't be afraid. You're not the first person to have questions. Most healthcare providers have heard it all before.

  • Don't be shy. The sooner you talk about what you need at your appointment, the more time you have to talk with your healthcare provider about birth control options. Don't know how to bring up the subject? Say it's a private matter. The word "private" signals that what you have to say is important.

  • Do your homework before your appointment. What types of birth control are you interested in? What questions do you have? Keep and open mind, too. Your healthcare provider may have some other methods that be be better for you.

  • Be honest. If you have a health problem, talk about it. Will the family planning method really work for you. Will you use it time after time and correctly?

  • Take notes. Write down the answers to your questions. Write down how you are to use the birth control correctly.

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Last updated: August 2014


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