Are you ready?

It seems that we’re planning things all the time…from small things like what to make for dinner and what to do over the weekend, to larger things like vacations, career moves, weddings, retirement funds, and buying a home. One area, though, that women may forget to include in their plans is children. Young women in particular may think that decisions about having children and family size come later in life. Unfortunately, without planning, about half of all women who become pregnant in the U.S. each year, do so unexpectedly. This includes young women who are not married as well as older women who are married and may already have a few children.

So, if you agree that making plans for your future family is important, how do you get started? To begin, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to have children someday?
  • If no or not sure, what are my plans for making sure I do not become pregnant?
  • If yes, how many would I like to have?
  • How old do I want to be when I become a mother?
  • How many years do I want to have in between children?

It is important to consider things other than pregnancy or children in your reproductive life plan, too. Ask yourself:

  • Where do I see myself in the next five years?
  • Do I want to be in a committed relationship?
  • How much education do I want?
  • What kind of job would I like to have?
  • Do I plan to be a stay-at-home parent?

Be honest with your answers—maybe even write them down in your journal. For more information about specific health topics based on your answers, click on the list below that fits where you are now.

Remember, your plans may change. But if you have a plan now, then you are more likely to be in the driver's seat for this very important part of your life.

Some content provided by Are you ready?: Sex and future from the N.C. Department of Public Health.

Revised: June 7, 2011

This web site is designed for informational use only; it is not designed to give advice, diagnose, cure or treat any medical condition you may have. If you have any questions about your health, please contact your health care provider.