What is Reproductive Healthcare?
Reproductive health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system at all stages of life, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Educating yourself about reproductive healthcare is a first step toward good health.
We encourage you to choose a healthy lifestyle - for your good health!
Reproductive Health Matters – Throughout Your Lifetime
The following are all factors that contribute to your reproductive healthcare, before and during pregnancy, and during your childbearing years:
- Good nutrition is important for sustained health
- Smoking and substance abuse can lead to irreversible damage (to you and to your child)
- Exercise can help your body withstand many different rigorous demands (including labor)
- Folic Acid is an important addition to your nutrition
- Untreated depression can lead to decreased overall health
- Dental care is important to your overall physical health
- Eating less (without your doctor's supervision) in order to control your weight may put your health (and your baby's health) at risk
The department encourages you to achieve your desired number of children safely and healthily, when and if you decide to have them. Choosing a healthy lifestyle, avoiding illness and disease, and receiving appropriate healthcare when needed can help achieve good health for you and your children.
Most of the department's medical programs cover comprehensive reproductive health services and voluntary family planning services. If you are no longer eligible for one of the department's comprehensive medical programs, you may be eligible for Illinois Healthy Women, a special family planning program.
A number of birth control methods are available. The choice of which form of birth control to use depends on such factors as the woman's health, frequency of sexual activity and desire to have a baby in the future. You can discuss what birth control methods are best for you with your healthcare provider. The following links can provide you with more information about the methods of birth control available to you, failure rates and potential risks.
Food and Drug Administration Birth Control Guide (html) (pdf)
Before pregnancy – see your doctor about planning for your healthy pregnancy, birth and baby. Take vitamins containing folic acid prior to becoming pregnant.
During pregnancy – get early and ongoing prenatal care.
After pregnancy – keep healthy. Wait for at least a year before becoming pregnant again. Illinois Healthy Women is a program that provides family planning and other related women's healthcare services to eligible women who would otherwise lose their medical coverage. The Illinois Healthy Women program allows women access to family planning services that enable women to choose the number and spacing of their pregnancies and to plan a healthy birth. For information about the Illinois Healthy Women Program, visit the Illinois Healthy Women Web site.
Women not eligible for the Illinois Healthy Women program may be eligible to receive low cost family planning and reproductive health services through another program. The Department of Human Services Help Line at 1-800-843-6154 and TTY at 1-800-447-6404 can assist in obtaining information about family planning resources, and low cost providers. The Illinois Department of Human Services Family Planning Program has more information available on their Web site.