In this day and age, reproductive health has become an important practice in every nation. But what exactly is it? What does it consist of? Why is reproductive health important for women’s health? Here, you will find the answers to all of these questions. Today, we will tell you about ten key elements of reproductive health that everyone should know about.
What is reproductive health?
Reproductive health is often defined not only as the absence of dysfunctions and diseases of the reproductive system, but also as a mental, social and physical wellbeing of an individual.
In this term, it is implied that people should be well informed on the topics of sexual life and family planning. It also covers the safe and healthy means of reproduction, like contraception, family planning offices, well-equipped hospitals and so on. Apart from that, it also includes sexual health, where sex is viewed as more than a way to reproduce.
Even though both sexes take part in reproducing, female reproductive system bear way more responsibilities than the male one do. Which is why reproductive health practices and services are more focused on women’s health. However, the importance of men’s reproductive health is not understated in the least, and there are still plenty of services for men, too.
Why is reproductive health important?
At first glance, the process of reproduction does not seem that complicated. But when you take a closer look, there is a plethora of issues. Many people do not know how to control the amount of children they produce, how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) or how to care for a child during its most fragile times.
This is when reproductive health comes in. It teaches, helps and prevents many unfortunate situations from happening. Nevertheless, reproductive health is not limited to the reproductive process alone. Therefore, below, you can find out what else reproductive health is good for.
Components of reproductive health
There are ten main components of reproductive health and healthcare:
Parental care. Despite what you might think, many months of carrying a baby is not the hardest part of pregnancy and future motherhood. There are several years of growing teeth, tantrums, poop and fevers ahead of you. And half of the time you will require additional hands and medical assistance.
That is why reproductive health includes facilities and services for safe motherhood. This component is meant to monitor the pregnancy itself all the way to delivering a baby, as well as neonatal, perinatal and postnatal periods, and breastfeeding.
Family planning. At the centres for family planning, people can usually find information on different kinds of contraception and the actual contraceptives. Even though it is called ‘family planning’, people who do not plan to start a family any time soon (or ever) can also use the functionality of these centres.
In addition, people can receive help on deciding how many children they want to have, what are the best ways of achieving it and how far apart the pregnancies should be. They can also decide to not have children altogether and choose to become permanently infertile. For that, family planning centres offer sterilisation procedures.
Dealing with sexual dysfunctions and infertility. While some people are trying not to have children, others are struggling to conceive. Reproductive health care helps people that want to become parents with providing information, medicine, treatment and alternative ways of reproduction.
Services for providing safe abortions.There are many reasons why people consider getting an abortion: unplanned pregnancy, health complications, pregnancy from a sexual assault (rape), etc. It is important that there are services available that could facilitate the process of pregnancy termination.
Management of complicated abortions. If you somehow do not know, many countries prohibit abortions, mostly on religious grounds. In those countries, abortion is akin to murder. What they do not take into account is that abortions will not go anywhere, even when made illegal. However, these illegal abortions are often harmful for the pregnant person, and they lead to many unnecessary complications.
Even in countries where abortions are legal, some might cause unexpected health problems. Which is why reproductive health concerns itself with not only abortions, but also their aftermath.
Treatment and prevention of STIs. STIs can happen to anyone who has an active sex life. Most of them are relatively harmless and short, and reproductive health centres are equipped with dealing with them.
However, some diseases are more severe, like HIV/AIDS. As they are untreatable, the centres can provide information on how to deal with them on a daily basis. This includes taking special medicine at the given times, learning how to deal with your positive status and fighting the stigma around this disease.
Treatment of non-infectious diseases connected to reproduction. Apart from the STIs, various non-transmittable diseases can damage the reproductive system. These include various types of cancers and other illnesses that might negatively affect the reproduction. Reproductive health centres deal with them as well.
Sexual education. Adolescents and other people that reached the age of sexual maturity should be taught about ‘what is reproduction’, ‘what is safe sex’, ‘why contraception is important’ and so many other things.
Because of religious views or other reasons, many try to ‘protect’ their children from knowing about these things. However, instead of protecting kids from depravity, parents, teachers and guardians put the children at risk. As they know nothing about sex and reproduction, kids might engage in unsafe practices without even knowing it, which usually cause problems for both them and their parental figures. That is why at least basic sex ed is necessary for reproductive health.
Dealing with harmful practices. Despite the fact that we live in the 21st century, many countries still have weird and dangerous traditions and laws. For example, in some African countries, the concept of female genital mutilation is a reality and not a scary story from the past. There are also instances of premature marriages and violence against women not punishable by law.
Reproductive health is meant to prevent such practices from happening and to remedy the damage that has already been done through mental and physical therapy.
Sexual health. Apart from being a tool for reproducing, sex is also a great stress relief, endorphin booster and a generally pleasurable activity (if it is consensual). Reproductive health teaches people how to engage in sexual activities that not only result in children, but also in mutual satisfaction and in strengthening of a bond between two people.
And that is all on the components of reproductive health! We hope that now you are a little bit wiser on the topic. It is never too late to learn something new, especially about things that affect your health. We wish you to have immediate access to reproductive health facilities whenever you need it and to stay healthy!