The world is evolving, and so is our idea of well-being. Today no longer is women’s well-being determined by her ability to bear children. It now expands to include her emotional, social, and sexual health as well. It now respects a woman as an individual with her own needs, desires, ambitions, and choices.
In this spirit of acknowledging and celebrating women, we shall talk about tips and ideas on ensuring women’s reproductive health and well-being. But before that, let’s briefly consider what ‘reproductive health’ means.
According to the WHO, reproductive health means the state of mental, physical, and social well-being regarding reproductive processes and functions, not just the absence of ill health. The authority rightly acknowledges that a safe and satisfying sex life and the ability to choose if, how, and when to reproduce as important aspects of reproductive well-being.
Here are four ways in which you can empower yourself and other women to ensure reproductive well-being:
- Build a support system of women
It is said, ‘Women lift women.’ So, build yourself an empowering, non-judgmental, honest group of women peers with whom you can share your concerns related to your body, sex life, reproductive health, and much more. Something as simple as experiencing incapacitating period pain and wanting to discuss it with someone who understands can be done with this support system that you build. You will find the validation, comfort, and advice that you need from this group.
- Get regular check-ups
Unfortunately, sometimes health problems insidiously make their way into our lives. It’s wise to get regular check-ups with your gynaecologist or healthcare worker to assess your reproductive health. Keep a note of your period cycles, your mood, physical changes in the body. Be mindful of any signs or symptoms for UTIs, STIs, or STDs. Be proactive in taking care of your health, and you will be way ahead of the game before any health issue decides to crop up.
- Practise safe menstruation
Use sanitary napkins, tampons, or menstrual cups during your period. Do not use a cloth or any abrasive or unhygienic material to soak the menstrual blood as that can lead to infection and injury to your organs. Similarly, replace your pad, tampon, or cup as suggested to prevent infections. Wash your vaginal area with lukewarm water every time you shower, and 2-3 times when you are on your period. This will keep it clean and infection-free.
- Find the right birth control.
If you wish not to get pregnant, then find the most suitable contraception for yourself. If there are certain contraception or birth control methods that don’t suit you, unabashedly choose another one. You can pick from a range of options such as birth control pills, IUDs, vaginal rings, patches, female condoms, and tubal ligation.
One of the most common birth control methods is pills such as Mankind’s Unwanted 21, Regular Oral Contraceptive Tablet. It needs to be taken each day for 21 days, followed by your period, and then start with a new pack. If your primary protection fails or miss taking it, you can take Mankind’s Unwanted 72, Emergency Contraceptive Tablets within 72 hours of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It is India’s No. 1 Emergency Contraceptive Tablet. Consult your healthcare worker to identify the best contraception method for yourself based on your health, lifestyle, and preferences.
Remind yourself of the autonomy you hold over your own body. Do what feels right and healthy for you, and you will never be wrong.