Women know life moves quickly. New partners, new jobs, different opportunities, and circumstances can come in and out of your life impacting everything from your current situation to your future life plans. On top of that, women’s healthcare is always changing. There are new options for birth control that can fit your active lifestyle, which is why it’s important to make sure your healthcare provider is aware of your reproductive plans and goals.

Annual Wellness Visits

Annual wellness visits can be more than just a routine check-up if you think of them as an opportunity for you to compare notes with your healthcare provider to:

  1. Review your overall health – emotional, mental, and physical health are equally important to discuss.
  2. Discuss lifestyle choices – everything from your job and your eating habits, to your sexual preferences can affect your overall health and wellbeing.
  3. Minimize health risks – Your provider may have insights into risk factors or simple adjustments that could greatly benefit your general health.
  4. Touch base on prevention – depending on your habits and lifestyle, there may be preventative steps you can take to ensure a healthier life.
  5. Identify medical problems – your medical history, current stress levels, and medications you may be taking can all point to potential health risks. Regular exams and simple tests can help in early identification.
  6. Build a relationship – regular visits with your healthcare provider give you the opportunity to get to know one another and feel more comfortable discussing sensitive subjects that impact your health and well-being.

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant within the next year, you will want to visit with your healthcare provider about your reproductive plan.

If you don’t want to become pregnant, be sure to ask what contraceptive methods are best for you.

View 11 Reasons to Schedule Your Annual Wellness Checkup

Sometimes even healthy mothers have complicated pregnancies or babies with health challenges.

Understanding your OWN HEALTH is an important first step as you consider your family planning and childbearing goals.

Here are some questions to consider:

What are your health goals and/or challenges?

Annual check-ups (sometimes called well visits or preventative visits) with your healthcare provider are important. These visits give you the opportunity to talk about your overall physical and mental well-being, things you can do to prevent future health problems, how your relationships are affecting your health, and what your childbearing goals are. It’s also a good time to review and discuss behaviors that can put your health at risk, such as alcohol, tobacco, or other substance use, diet, and levels of physical activity.

How healthy is your diet?

Healthy eating habits can give you more energy and can reduce or even prevent some chronic conditions. Eating well doesn’t have to be a chore or expensive either – a little planning and making small changes every day can make a huge difference!

Did you know doctors recommend that all women of childbearing age take a daily vitamin that includes Folic Acid? Adequate folic acid helps prevent some birth defects. A vitamin isn’t a substitute for choosing healthy foods, but it is an insurance policy that you are getting the nutrients you need even on your busiest days.

There are lots of nutrition resources and apps that can help you make healthy choices:

What is your family’s medical history?

Knowing your family’s health history can be very valuable. It can help you understand your own health better and prepare you for the future. Being aware of conditions that run in your family can also help prevent potential health problems for you and your baby.

Do you have any existing conditions?

Chronic conditions are often some of the most common, costly, and preventable health problems. Things like heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity can be prevented or controlled by making small, daily changes to diet or exercise habits.

You can also plan ahead to protect yourself against infections. Half of all sexually active people will contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD) by the age of 25. Besides being uncomfortable and embarrassing, STDs can cause serious health conditions – even infertility. The good news is that STDs are preventable. Get the facts and get tested.

What medications are you currently taking?

Make sure you know all of the prescriptions you’re taking and how they might react with other drugs, food, alcohol, or over-the-counter medications. Stay on top of instructions and dosages and be sure to talk with your healthcare provider regularly.

Emotional support & healthy relationships.

Stress is part of life, but finding balance is critical to your emotional and mental well-being. There are many strategies to help reduce stress – from physical activity and hobbies to meditation or simple “me time.” No relationship is perfect, but the time you spend with your partner, family, and friends should make you feel happy and safe. You can talk with your healthcare provider about resources in your community that can help you build the support systems you need to reduce stress and strengthen relationships.

What other resources are available to you?

Don’t be afraid to reach out. You might be surprised by the number of agencies and programs that are geared toward providing information, guiding, and assisting you in making healthy choices. Here are a few places to get you started: