Family Planning And Contraception
Despite the tact that a woman’s ability to space her pregnancies or limit the number of pregnancies has a direct impact on each of her pregnancies, her health and well-being, 225 million women in developing countries do not use any method of family planning.
Also. according to the WHO, the same number of women would like to delay or stop childbearing but cannot do so, because of not being able to use any birth control techniques.
Advantages Of Family Planning
Prevents Pregnancy Related Health Issues In Women
The power to delay or prevent pregnancy has several health benefits for women. This also empowers women as they are able to decide about their future. Also, by preventing early pregnancies, a lot of pregnancy related complications can be avoided. And by limiting unwanted pregnancies, the chance of unsafe abortions also reduces and it saves women and mothers from dying.
Condoms for both men and women help provide dual protection. Not only do they prevent unintended pregnancies but also protect against HIV/AIDS. Family planning also helps by preventing pregnancy in women living with HIV/AIDS which in turn reduces the numbers of infected babies.
Reduces Teenage Pregnancy
Pregnant teenage girls are more prone to have pre-term babies and conceive babies with low birth weight. Many teenage girls who become pregnant have to leave their education and this ends up having a long-term effect on their health, education, opportunities and career. Also, babies born to adolescent girls have a high rate of mortality.
Reduces Infant Mortality
Whenever there is less spacing between children, ¡t has ill effects on the infant’s health.
Controls Population Growth
Family planning helps to keep a control on the growing population and its negative impact on the economy and the environment.
Family planning helps empower women as they can space their children, pursue their education and also their career. In smaller families, one can invest more on children’s education and give them a better quality of life. Children with less number of siblings tend to stay longer in school as compared to others who have many siblings.
Availability Of Contraceptive Methods
It is very important for contraceptive services and options to be widely and easily available. These can be provided by social workers and midwives too. Condoms and oral contraception can be provided by social workers after they are properly trained, but other methods such as copper T and sterilization should only be provided by a doctor. However, there is an ‘unmet need for contraception,’ and many factors such as the ones mentioned below are responsible for this,
- Lack of education
- Lack of accessibility (young population and the poor people)
- Gender bias
- Fear of side effects
- Limited choice
- Growing population
- Shortage of supply of contraceptive methods
Methods Of Contraception
There are different methods of contraception and it may not be possible to discuss each and every method here along with its advantages and disadvantages. Mentioned here are a few different methods:
Natural Or Traditional Methods
- Calendar method or rhythm method
- Coitus interruptus or withdrawal method
- Fertile day method
- Basal body temperature method
- Sympto-thermal method
- Lactational amenorrhea method
Temporary method or reversible contraception – this means it can be used tor short-term or long-term spacing and can be stopped when a couple wants to have children.
- Combined oral contraception (COG)
- Progestogen-only pill or minipill
- Progestogen-only injectables
- Combined injectable contraceptive or monthly injectable
- Intrauterine device or Copper T
- Intrauterine device containing hormone – Levonorgestrel
- Female condoms
- Male condoms
Since these methods are permanent, it should only be done when the family is complete and when the couple does not want any more pregnancies in the future.
- Male sterilization or vasectomy
- Female sterilization or tubectomy
There is one more type of contraception called emergency contraception. This method is used whenever there is unprotected intercourse such as in cases of rape or forceful intercourse and also in some cases when there is a condom rupture or slippage. There are different types of emergency contraception but the most widely used method is the progestogen pill and this should be used within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse for it to be effective.
World Health Organization (WHO) is working to promote family planning methods and also to meet the demand and supply so as to reduce the ‘unmet need for contraception’ The WHO is also developing newer methods of contraception for men and women.