Nikki Reed’s birth control drama: Experts weigh in on how to discuss family planning

Initiating the conversation can be challenging, one expert said.

— -- Critics took aim at Nikki Reed's husband Ian Somerhalder this week after the actor admitted in an interview to throwing out the actress' birth control pills.

Somerhalder, 38, recounted the ordeal, which took place when the couple was vacationing in Barcelona last year.

Although Reed, 29, was initially "freaking out," Somerhalder acknowledged, the two later decided to expand their family and last July they welcomed a daughter named Bodhi.

Reed, who wed Somerhalder wed in 2015, also took to Twitter to quell the criticism, writing that fans shouldn't be alarmed by the story.

She wrote in part, "We should be talking about these things, but using a funny interview between married [people] & twisting it to perpetuate gossip is irresponsible."

Reed's experience raises the question -- what is the best way to start a family?

Genevieve Brown, author of "The Happiest Mommy You Know," said the discussion should preferably happen "way prior to marriage."

"It's natural that one person may be more ready than the other," she continued. "But you can't make a person be ready before their time - even if they end up going along with your time table, they'll likely resent you for it later."

Frazier admits that having this tough conversation can be difficult but not impossible. She gave fool-proof tips on how to discuss starting a family without starting a fight.

1. Timing is everything
"Get your timing together," she warned. "Don’t do it while someone is half asleep and don’t do it at half time. And you don’t want do it when someone just walked through the door. You really don’t want to have any distractions around you so perhaps you'll need to schedule a time to talk."

2. Pick a neutral space to talk
"Or go for a walk or even out to a public space like a coffee shop so you can go there and really connect," Frazier suggested.

3. Break out the rule book
"I always tell people to set rules for communicating. So before the conversation gets uncomfortable, let’s agree to take 10 minutes to cool off and then come back and finish the conversation," she said. "And you definitely want everyone to feel free to express themselves, so no talking over each other."

4. It's OK to ask for help
"You can always go to counseling to have difficult conversations as a couple. If you can’t do it on your own, have a neutral party that’s a professional to help facilitate this conversation," Frazier recommended.