One Key Question

By Improving Maternal Health
January 20, 2021

A woman’s decision around pregnancy should be an ever-evolving discussion, taking into account even the most tender aspects of her life. As such, it can be daunting for healthcare providers and other caretakers to approach. It seems that sometimes even as adults, we struggle finding the words to talk about the birds and the bees. 

Studies show that on average, women spend more than three-fourths of their reproductive years trying to prevent an unintended pregnancy. Beyond interpersonal interactions, systemic barriers such as fragmented health care, time and resource constraints, and lack of accessible information prevent family planning practices from being effectively executed. As a result, nearly half of all pregnancies in Texas are unplanned, and pregnancy-related health issues remain a concern among many. 

One Key Question® (OKQ) provides a simple but transformative framework to routinely ask a woman about her reproductive health needs. The One Key Question® initiative encourages primary care health teams to ask: “Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?” 

By making this discussion an essential part of any primary care encounter, then subsequently following up with the appropriate reproductive health services depending on the response, OKQ hopes to decrease unintended pregnancy and improve the health of wanted pregnancies. 

OKQ is a non-judgmental screening, aimed at empowering a woman’s own autonomy, and equally supports women who want to become pregnant and those who do not. Engaging women in conversations about their reproductive goals is effective in both achieving public health objectives and empowering individual women to achieve the reproductive lives they desire. Additional information and examples of answers to OKQ can be found from the Power to Decide and the March of Dimes

Other initiatives, such as Own Every Piece, here in the Houston-area are empowering women with intuitive, accessible information and resources. Check out their comprehensive website to compare various birth control methods, take a quiz to dispel your own myths about birth control, or get connected to a local clinic that can provide a woman with a contraceptive method.