Take Charge of Your Reproductive Health
The Family Planning Council of Iowa is proud to advocate for and support the value of individual access to reproductive and sexual health for all. All FPCI subrecipient clinics provide confidential services and education to support the health of both male and female Iowans.
General Health Screenings
It is a good idea to complete annual health exams to assess overall health and receive professional recommendations and guidance on healthy living. FPCI subrecipient clinics provide general health screenings that include measuring height, weight, BMI, blood pressure, listening to heart and lungs, skin evaluation, screening for alcohol and drug misuse, and more.
For those wanting to achieve pregnancy, you may work with your clinician to assess reproductive health and set goals. Your clinician will go over past medical and surgical history along with occupational and/or environmental exposures that may affect your reproductive health. Preconception services also provide support to address male sexual and reproductive health that may impact future reproductive capacity. Male support aims to improve their partners’ health outcomes and to educate them as critical partners in family planning.
STI Screening & Treatment
The most common symptom of Sexually Transmitted Infections is showing no symptoms at all. STI screenings can not only identify an infection you may not know you have, but getting frequent screenings also allows you to access faster treatment with early detection. STIs are spread during vaginal, anal, and oral sex or even by other types of contact. Find more information on STIs here.
How to Avoid Unplanned Pregnancies
Pregnancy prevention is the responsibility of both partners in a relationship. Open communication between partners and consultation with a trained clinician or reproductive health educator can support partners in creating a plan for safe intercourse that works for them.
How to use Condoms
Condoms are known as a top choice for pregnancy prevention and protection against STI transmission. However, utilizing a condom during sexual intercourse may not be as effective without proper use. Talk with a physician to make sure you know how to properly use a condom. FPCI offers free condoms in-house as well as in most clinic locations.
Reproductive Health & Safe Sex Practices
Participating in safer sex means protecting yourself and your partner(s) from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies. One common way to practice safe sex during intercourse is to use a barrier method such as condoms or dental dams when performing oral sex. A barrier covers part of the genitals and prevents skin to skin contact. Using one barrier method every time you have anal, oral, or vaginal sex will decrease the chances of contracting a STI or having an unplanned pregnancy. Getting Tested for STIs is a part of your reproductive health. It is important that you regularly get tested at least once a year or between sexual partners. Many people who have a STI do not have symptoms or know that they are infected. Testing is the only way to know for sure if a person has a sexually transmitted infection. When a person is tested and find out they have a STI it is important to receive the correct medication to treat the infection as well as communicate with their partner(s) so the infection is not passed to others. The only way to know for sure that you will not get a STI or become pregnant is to abstain from (not have) any type of sexual contact. Many people use this as their primary form of contraception, but it’s important to have a safer sex plan in place if you decide to be sexually active. Avoid drugs and alcohol as this can impair decision making and can make a person forget the importance of safer sex. It becomes difficult to use condoms or contraception when you are drunk or high.
Contraception lets women and couples plan for the number of children they want and/or when they want them. There are many forms including hormonal and non-hormonal, and it is important to discuss with your care provider which is right for you. Contraceptive methods have a wide range of benefits beyond pregnancy prevention such as: reducing pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality, reducing the development of certain reproductive cancers, and can be used to treat menstrual related symptoms and disorders.
Testicular Cancer Screening
Testicular cancer screenings are recommended before showing any cancer symptoms in order to rule out and prevent the development of the disease. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 15 to 34 years, and can usually be cured with timely detection. Contact a clinician to get screened.
HPV is a name for a group of viruses among which 40 different strains are sexually transmitted and infect the genital area of both men and women. Three out of four people will have HPV at some point in their lifetime, even if they show no signs of infection. Since there is currently no HPV test for men, it is a good idea to receive the preventative HPV vaccine. This vaccine is available at FPCI sub-recipient clinics. Find out more about HPV and the vaccination here.
Reproductive Health Screening
Female reproductive health screenings are used to assess reproductive health and provide guidance for a healthy reproductive life pllan. During a reproductive health exam, your physician may ask about your sexual partners, information about those partners (same or opposite sex or both) and more to determine your risk for STIs and HIV. A standard reproductive exam also includes a breast exam, pelvic exam, and sometimes a Pap test to screen for the presence of HPV or STIs. These appointments are also a great opportunity to determine when you may want to achieve a pregnancy and discuss contraceptive methods that suit you best.
Breast & Cervical Cancer Screening
These screenings can be done at any time, and it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with or without suspecting you may have breast or cervical cancer. Breast cancer screenings typically involve a breast exam by a trained clinician to detect unusual masses in breast tissue, and your risk for or presence of cervical cancer is screened through swabbing the cells around your cervix. If the results require further testing, your clinician will contact you.
Whether you hope to conceive as soon as possible or want to wait, it is never too soon to start planning. Title X clinicians provide guidance in planning for pregnancy, including evaluating any medical conditions, lifestyle, medications, your desires, and more to aim for a healthy pregnancy. If you are not wanting to plan a pregnancy, then a Title X clinician can work with you to avoid conception by going over birth control options, health screenings, and more.
Pregnancy Testing & Education
All Title X provider clinics offer pregnancy testing to confirm or rule out a suspected pregnancy. In addition to testing, your clinician is able to answer questions, discuss your options with you, and empower you to make informed decisions regarding your pregnancy.
Birth control and contraception is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and what is best for your friend may not be the best way to avoid or achieve pregnancy for you. FPCI sub-recipient clinics can provide guidance and recommendation for contraceptives based on your lifestyle and reproductive goals.
Basic Infertility Services
Infertility is defined as a couple unable to become pregnant after 12 months or longer of regular unprotected intercourse. For women age 35 years or older and women with specific medical conditions, infertility evaluation should start after 6 months of regular unprotected intercourse and not becoming pregnant. Basic infertility visits try to determine a cause for the couple not being able to achieve pregnancy and make a referral to a specialist for more evaluation and testing. Both male and female partners should be evaluated at the same time. Referrals to an infertility specialist are not paid by federal and state family planning programs. These costs would be the responsibility of each client.
HPV Vaccination & Screening
HPV is one of the most common STIs, and three out of every four people have it (some without knowing). While vaccination is available to both males and females to prevent HPV, females are also able to get screened for the presence of the virus. Screening for HPV is done by a trained clinician. During the exam, cells will be swabbed and collected from the cervix area and then sent to a laboratory for testing. Learn more about what to expect here.