Reproductive health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of physical, mental, and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system at all stages of life. Reproductive health implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. Implicit in this definition are the rights of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, and the right to appropriate health-care services that enable women to safely go through pregnancy and childbirth.
Reproductive health care is the constellation of information and services designed to help individuals attain and maintain the state of reproductive health by preventing and solving reproductive health problems. Reproductive health care includes a variety of prevention, wellness and family planning services as well as diagnosis and treatment of reproductive health concerns.
Positive reproductive health means that individuals can manage their own sexuality and have unrestricted access to the full range of reproductive health care options. Implicit in this understanding of reproductive health is the right of all women and men to be informed, to have access to safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, and to have access to appropriate health care services that enable women to safely go through pregnancy and childbirth.
Reproductive health is a critical component of women’s general health. Reproductive health care is a prerequisite for women’s social, economic and human development. When women lack access to safe, comprehensive reproductive health care, the consequences can be damaging.