Navigating Conversations about Reproductive Health

Reproductive and Sexual Health Series Part 6

While it may seem like a taboo topic to bring up with your friends or family, reproductive health is an important subject that needs to be discussed.

This topic affects everyone.

At first, it may be difficult to initiate a conversation about reproductive health with your loved ones, so we’ve curated a list of key ideas for how to get the conversation started and how to keep it going based on who you are talking to:

Talking to your child

  • Ideally, conversations about reproductive health with children should start at puberty.
  • The changes a child goes through may elicit several questions, and having a parent to turn to for honest answers cannot only help improve their reproductive health, but can also improve their mental health.

Conversations about romantic relationships are also beneficial in improving reproductive health, and tend to be most effective when done before the child starts dating (although they can take place any time).

  • In order to be the most effective, conversations about romantic relationships with your children should not only include the basics (consent, contraceptive use, etc.), but it should also create a foundation for your kids to feel comfortable coming to you with later issues.

Talking to your parents

Talking to parents about reproductive health may feel weird or uncomfortable no matter your age, but it is very helpful, and it only gets easier with practice!

  • When talking to your parents about reproductive health issues that may have skepticism or stigma surrounding them (such as starting birth control or getting the HPV vaccine), make sure you come prepared with knowledge (i.e. the HPV vaccine is recommended for children and does not lead to earlier sexual activity, etc.)
  • For more information about the HPV vaccine check out this list of HPV vaccine myths and the availability of the HPV vaccine without parental consent.

Talking to your friends

  • Talking to your friends about reproductive health might seem challenging or awkward. Don’t worry! It gets easier and more natural the more conversations you have.
  • Because of the closeness in age, conversations with friends can lead to reassurance in knowing someone else has had the same experiences as you. Talking with friends can also help you understand who you can go to with questions and concerns.