Maintaining the health of your reproductive system goes beyond simply being able to have children.
It encompasses enjoying a safe and satisfying sex life, making informed decisions about when to start a family, and maintaining overall well-being, whether parenthood is part of your plans or not.
Taking proactive steps to protect reproductive health involves preventing and managing sexually transmitted infections, using birth control effectively, and identifying and addressing serious conditions such as cancer at an early stage.
The following are some reasons why healthcare professionals believe reproductive health should be prioritised:
Regular check-ups can help identify potential issues, such as hormonal imbalances or conditions that may impact fertility or cause menstrual discomfort.
Early detection significantly improves the chances of successful treatment, especially for serious conditions like various forms of cancer.
Timely identification of infections through routine checks facilitates prompt treatment and prevents further transmission to others.
For those considering starting a family, fertility checks offer insights into potential challenges and allow for exploring available options.
Understanding and utilising various methods of pregnancy prevention enables individuals to make informed choices regarding the timing and decision to have children.
Assessing overall health before conceiving increases the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
If welcoming a new life into your family is in your heart, take a gentle pause to consider that February is a time we honour Reproductive Health Month in South Africa.
It's a nurturing space to reflect on how you care for your reproductive health and affirm your rights to make personal health choices.
With compassion and care, Fed Health has curated a list of four vital health checks to guide and support you as you embark on the precious journey to parenthood.
Consider your contraception
If you're currently using contraception, such as the pill, patch, or intrauterine device (IUD), it's important to consult your doctor about the best way to discontinue usage.
Keep in mind that pregnancy can occur immediately after stopping contraceptive use in many cases. However, it's also possible that it may take longer to conceive, influenced by various health and lifestyle factors.
Check your medical aid cover
Pregnancy and childbirth involve numerous medical visits and expenses. Signing up for a comprehensive medical aid plan before becoming pregnant is crucial, as most schemes have waiting periods in place for pregnancy-related expenses.
Planning and ensuring you have the appropriate medical cover is essential for a smooth family planning journey.
Consider preconception health screenings
Before trying to conceive, it's beneficial to undergo health screenings to assess family histories and conduct necessary physical examinations.
This includes checking blood pressure, screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STI), and discussing current medications with your doctor. Beginning preconception health preparations at least three months before attempting pregnancy is recommended.
Ensure your vaccinations are up to date
Keeping up with vaccinations is essential, especially for infections such as rubella and chickenpox, which can be harmful if contracted during pregnancy.
Vaccinations for diseases like measles and annual flu shots are beneficial to receive before becoming pregnant, as certain medications may not be safe during pregnancy.
Taking proactive steps to manage your reproductive health is vital as you prepare to start a family. Planning will not only contribute to a smooth and joyful journey toward parenthood but also help you be the best possible version of yourself as a new parent.