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What Is Reproductive Health?

An unplanned pregnancy can be a threat to reproductive health.
Reproductive health involves the well-being of the reproductive organs, such as those of the female reproductive system.
Reproductive health includes prenatal care.
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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2014
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Reproductive health generally has to do with those medical conditions related to the reproductive tract, and it generally encompasses ensuring that individuals are able to reproduce and to freely make reproductive choices for themselves. A person who enjoys good reproductive health is able to have children, as well as to choose when to have children and how many children to have. Threats to reproductive health can include unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other reproductive issues such as infertility. For women, reproductive health often ensures providing protection against unplanned pregnancy, as well as pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women. Ensuring that expectant mothers enjoy the safest possible birth is another aspect of reproductive health.

Sexually transmitted diseases may be one of the biggest threats to both male and female reproductive health. Hundreds of millions of people each year are diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections that can be cured, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Many more may be diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be cured, including genital herpes and HIV/AIDS. The regular and appropriate use of female or male latex condoms is believed to significantly reduce the chances that disease could be spread during sexual intercourse. Other methods of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases include totally abstaining from sexual activity, or having sex exclusively within a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner free of sexually transmitted disease.

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Many sexually transmitted diseases can have serious consequences for reproductive health and general health. Complications of sexually transmitted diseases can include infertility, painful acute symptoms, and death. Some sexually transmitted diseases can spread to infants in the womb, or during birth, from an infected mother. Preventing and treating these diseases is, therefore, considered crucial to preserving public reproductive health.

Experts believe that, in order to maintain reproductive health, both men and women should have access to resources to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, and to treatment for other medical conditions affecting the reproductive organs. Experts advocate the extension of reproductive choice to both men and women, so that family planning can occur without the threat of unwanted pregnancy. Pregnant women generally need prenatal care, and post-natal follow-up care. Childbirth should be made as safe as possible, to minimize the risk of disease or fatality among both mothers and infants.

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lluviaporos
Post 4

@MrsPramm - It seems like fertility in general as well as the desire to have children, is going down so maybe our society will change along with it in the next few generations.

With that said, I do think that reproductive health services are important and should be bolstered whether it is to help prevent venereal disease or prevent pregnancy, or to help people who want to become pregnant do so.

These are life-changing decisions and people deserve to have every chance to make them.

MrsPramm
Post 3

@croydon - Honestly, I think society places too much emphasis on reproduction in general. Becoming pregnant isn't the only way to bring a child into your family and being able to become pregnant should not be the defining characteristic of females in general.

I've known several women who found out that for various reasons they aren't fertile and it is devastating, even if they had no real intention of ever having children.

Without so much pressure and expectation put on people to have their "own" children, there would be fewer children left in foster homes and fewer relationships ruined over fertility issues.

croydon
Post 2

One thing that I think is vastly underrated when it comes to reproductive health is stress. I've heard dozens of stories of people who were told they weren't likely to have children, or who tried and failed for years and only became pregnant once they stopped trying.

I think it makes perfect sense for the body to lower fertility when someone is feeling stress or anxiety, which often happens when a couple is attempting to get pregnant and it isn't happening right away.

So not worrying about it might seem like an easy answer, but I do think it's the best one if you are really trying for a baby.

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