Talking With Your Patient

Getting the Conversation Going

Did you know?

  • 85 out of 100 sexually active women will become pregnant within one year when not using contraception.
  • About 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned every year.
  • There is a safe and effective birth control method for every woman.

Health care providers and educators like you are often the missing link in whether or not a patient successfully avoids an unintended pregnancy. There are several key strategies in helping patients avoid unintended pregnancies. One is to always ask straightforward contraception questions at every visit. Your face-to-face time with patients is limited, so do a quick Q&A assessment with your patient (see example below) and have resources available to fulfill their needs.

Do you plan to have any (more) children at any time in your future?

If Yes

  • How many children would you like to have?
  • How long would you like to wait before you or your partner becomes pregnant?
  • What family planning method do you plan to use until you and your partner are ready to become pregnant?
  • How sure are you that you will be able to use this method without any problems?

If No

  • What family planning method will you use to avoid pregnancy?
  • How sure are you that you will be able to use this method without any problems?
  • Plans change. Is it possible you or your partner would ever want to get pregnant?

Additional tips for motivating your patients with the right questions are available through Health Team Works.

Source: This framework was developed in partnership with Merry-K Moos, RN, FNP, MPH, FAAN, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is based on her webinar, “Reproductive Life Plans” (February 25, 2010).

Helping Your Patients Make a Reproductive Health Life Plan

Reproductive health planning is taking intentional actions toward becoming a parent, and preparing for pregnancy and parenting. Health care providers and educators can help guide patients to consider all the right questions and make thoughtful decisions about if or when to have children, how many to have, how to time pregnancies, and how to ensure the healthiest pregnancies and families. This process may involve contraception, fertility-promoting actions, and/or other behavioral changes.

Since different people have different cultural and personal concepts of sexuality, fertility, health, and control over pregnancy, cultural competency is of critical importance when discussing reproductive planning. For example, “planning to get pregnant”, “wanting to get pregnant”, “trying to get pregnant”, and the opposites of each of these might take on different meanings depending on the patient and their respective culture.

For more helpful information, check out this Reproductive Life Plan Tool. The Case for Reproductive Life Planning is another fantastic resource full of thoughtful, professional tips and ideas.