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Reproductive life plans

Health Factors: Access to Care
Decision Makers: Healthcare Professionals & Advocates Public Health Professionals & Advocates
Evidence Rating: Expert Opinion
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Reproductive life plans (RLPs) provide a structured format for women and men to think about their desires related to having or not having children and establish goals based on those desires. Individual RLPs are short statements that are consistent with personal values and current life circumstances; plans can evolve as an individual progresses through life (CDC-My RLP). Health care providers can introduce RLPs during primary care, outpatient, and hospital visits as a prompt to discuss patients’ intentions to have or not have a child or additional children (Farahi 2013Malnory 2011) and use that information to optimize health, prevent unintended pregnancies, and address other health needs prior to desired pregnancies (Moos 2008). RLPs can also be introduced in community settings through home visiting programs, health education curricula, family support programs, and other initiatives (Malnory 2011). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Increased preconception planning
Improved reproductive health
Improved birth outcomes
Improved health-related knowledge
Increased healthy behaviors

Evidence of Effectiveness

Reproductive life plans are a suggested strategy to increase preconception planning, improve reproductive health, birth outcomes, and health knowledge (CDC MMWR-Johnson 2006, Moos 2008, Farahi 2013), and are considered especially important in populations at risk for adverse outcomes, such as black women (Malnory 2011). However, additional evidence is needed to confirm effects on behavior and birth outcomes and determine effective implementation strategies.

Patients at a Chicago community health center who completed a reproductive health self-assessment tool (RH-SAT), a type of RLP, before a primary care visit found it acceptable and reported initiating productive, focused discussions about reproductive health with their providers. Providers indicated that the RH-SAT facilitated improved communication and supported delivery of patient-focused counseling (Bello 2013). 

RLPs, like other consumer-focused health literature, should be designed to be understandable, culturally sensitive, and responsive to the needs of those who use them (Malnory 2011).

Implementation

United States

Various efforts are underway to incorporate reproductive life plans into preconception care efforts and make materials available to providers and the public. DE Thrives, a collaboration between the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium, for example, began providing RLP resources for women and teens in 2011 and men in 2012 (DE Thrives). The Preconception Health Council of California’s Every Woman California program (EWCA) and the online Region I Title X Family Planning Training Center serving New England (Region I FPTC) also provide RLPs for women and teens.

Implementation Resources

CDC-My RLP - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My reproductive life plan. Accessed on December 16, 2015
DE Thrives - DE Thrives. Let's all Thrive! Healthy women. Healthy babies. Healthy families. Healthy communities. Accessed on January 14, 2016
EWCA - Every Woman California (EWCA). Educational resources for public health professionals & providers. Preconception Health Council of California. Accessed on January 14, 2016
Region I FPTC - Region I Title X Family Planning Training Center (FPTC). Resources: Reproductive life planning. Accessed on January 20, 2016

Citations - Description

CDC-My RLP - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). My reproductive life plan. Accessed on December 16, 2015
Farahi 2013* - Farahi N, Zolotor A. Recommendations for preconception counseling and care. American Family Physician. 2013;88(8):499-506. Accessed on December 22, 2015
Malnory 2011* - Malnory ME, Johnson TS. The reproductive life plan as a strategy to decrease poor birth outcomes. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 2011;40(1):109-121. Accessed on January 12, 2016
Moos 2008* - Moos MK, Dunlop AL, Jack BW, et al. Healthier women, healthier reproductive outcomes: Recommendations for the routine care of all women of reproductive age. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008;199(6 Suppl 2):280-9. Accessed on December 16, 2015

Citations - Evidence

Bello 2013* - Bello JK, Adkins K, Stulberg DB, Rao G. Perceptions of a reproductive health self-assessment tool (RH-SAT) in an urban community health center. Patient Education and Counseling. 2013;93(3):655-63. Accessed on December 28, 2015
CDC MMWR-Johnson 2006 - Johnson K, Posner SF, Biermann J, et al . Recommendations to improve preconception health and health care - United States. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). 2006;55(RR-6):1-23. Accessed on January 12, 2016
Farahi 2013* - Farahi N, Zolotor A. Recommendations for preconception counseling and care. American Family Physician. 2013;88(8):499-506. Accessed on December 22, 2015
Malnory 2011* - Malnory ME, Johnson TS. The reproductive life plan as a strategy to decrease poor birth outcomes. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. 2011;40(1):109-121. Accessed on January 12, 2016
Moos 2008* - Moos MK, Dunlop AL, Jack BW, et al. Healthier women, healthier reproductive outcomes: Recommendations for the routine care of all women of reproductive age. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008;199(6 Suppl 2):280-9. Accessed on December 16, 2015

Citations - Implementation

DE Thrives - DE Thrives. Let's all Thrive! Healthy women. Healthy babies. Healthy families. Healthy communities. Accessed on January 14, 2016
EWCA - Every Woman California (EWCA). Educational resources for public health professionals & providers. Preconception Health Council of California. Accessed on January 14, 2016
Region I FPTC - Region I Title X Family Planning Training Center (FPTC). Resources: Reproductive life planning. Accessed on January 20, 2016

Page Last Updated

March 17, 2016

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