Do I want to be pregnant in the next year?

We live in a complicated world. All kinds of options about all kinds of things are part of everyday life.  Info comes at us non-stop: in tweets, disappearing messages, and news stories – some with opinion presented as fact published on-line alongside those through an editing process and credible sources.

With all of life’s complications, options and information, there is one simple question that is worth asking, and that only you have the answer to: “Do I want to become pregnant in the next year?”

How you answer it sets up some health care services you need. And if you have health insurance, we encourage you make an appointment now (before there are any big changes) and use that coverage.

Yes:  You’re ready for what’s called “preconception care” – what to do before you get pregnant. A knowledgeable health care provider can do a health screen for you to find if you have any conditions that need addressing before getting pregnant, if you’re taking any medications that might impact a pregnancy, and help you set up a plan for eating and exercise that is great for having a healthy baby.  They can also guide you on the right amount of folic acid to take while trying to get pregnant, and chart a course for prenatal care. And…if you’re currently using a birth control method, you can make a plan for when to quit using it as it related to your plans for pregnancy.

No: Using an effective contraceptive method – and using it consistently and correctly – is key to keeping you stay “not pregnant” in the year ahead. You might be ready to start using contraception, you don’t love the method you’re using now, or you’re ready for a method that’s low maintenance and work without you doing a thing. Getting some emergency contraception to keep on hand might be a good plan, too. In any case, making an appointment with a knowledgeable provider can get you set for the year ahead.

It’s OK either way: If you are in the “maybe yes, maybe no – and either is OK” camp, a health care provider can get you on track for preparing for pregnancy – screenings and supplements, preconception counseling, early prenatal care, and more. It’s important to talk through things you should be planning for just in case you do become pregnant.

Unsure:  It might be a good time to talk with a health care provider to make sure you’re up to speed on both your contraceptive options and about preconception care.

No matter your answer, it’s always great to talk to people in your life about where you are and how you’re feeling about things. A good connect with your partner, friends or family can help you think through what’s important to you. Sometimes those conversations are tough to start – but it’s worth trying. Need some pointers on getting started?