An Early Introduction to Positive Reproductive Health

When addressing the topic of positive reproductive health, one should be aware of the fact that not all people develop their reproductive capacity at the same rate. Sometimes parents need to offer a word of encouragement to a young girl, who has seen her friends develop large breasts, while hers remain small. Sometimes, as mentioned below, a parent must do even more to help a slow-developing child.
In the autumn of 1962, a physical education teacher at a Pennsylvania Junior High School introduced her class to one aspect of positive reproductive health. That introduction followed a period during which each female student had strived to do a long series of sit-ups.

Some of the girls in the class had done 30 to 50 sit-ups. One girl had managed to do only 14. The physical education teacher felt it necessary to provide that girl with a warning. She said, “Well, you’re going to have problems if you ever have a baby.”

That physical education teacher realized that she had a unique opportunity to introduce her students to the importance of positive reproductive health. Later that same year those girls would have one class in which they performed no type of strenuous physical activity. That change in the usual program was made in an effort to promote positive reproductive health.

What did that group of young females do in their physical education class on that day? They watched a movie that gave them details about the female reproductive system. The film was designed to prepare the girls for when they would start having periods.

Changes in society have strengthened the need for an early introduction to positive reproductive health. Now school children often get their first taste of sex education in the upper elementary grades. Now much of that education focuses on defining HIV, and warning the students about guarding against an AIDS infection.

Some aspects of a positive reproductive health deserve more attention. Health professionals have begun to place a greater emphasis on cervical cancer. The new vaccine against cervical cancer makes it imperative that parents and school personnel offer the girl students information on cervical cancer.

Still there remains another untouched issue that relates to reproductive health. If it is not fully addressed, then some young girls could develop an attitude about sexual development that is far from positive. That issue concerns the varying rates at which both boys and girls undergo sexual development.

Take for example the girls in that 1962 class, the class that saw a film designed to prepare them for menstruation. Not every girl in that class developed regular periods at the anticipated time. One girl had some spotting at the age of 14, and then did nothing after that. Due to her delayed development, her mother took her to see a specialist.

That physician ordered a number of tests for his new patient. Most of those tests focused on the girl’s hormone levels. The tests did not provide the physician with any clue as to what was causing the delayed development. Eventually, the physician discovered that his patient’s apparent absence of a positive reproductive health might well be linked to a neurological problem.

After many operations and many more tests, the young woman finally had normal periods. Yet her experience alerted her to the value of extensive information on the factors that can influence the development of the reproductive system.
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