• genetic counseling;
  • preconception counseling;
  • preconception care;
  • pregnancy;
  • reproduction

The purpose of this article is 2-fold: to emphasize the importance of a reproductive life plan and to define its key elements. We review the 2006 recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding ways to improve the delivery of preconception health care to women in the United States, with particular focus on encouraging individual reproductive responsibility throughout the life span and on encouraging every woman to develop a reproductive life plan. We propose recommendations for the content of a reproductive life plan and explore ways to incorporate the guidelines from the CDC into clinical practice. By encouraging women to consider their plans for childbearing before they become pregnant, clinicians have the opportunity to influence behavior before pregnancy, which may decrease the incidence of unintended pregnancies and adverse pregnancy outcomes.