Source: "Essentials of Contraceptive Technology"
Family Planning Helps Everyone
Family planning helps women protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies. Since the 1960s family planning programs have helped women around the world avoid 400 million unwanted pregnancies. As a result, many women’s lives have been saved from high-risk pregnancies or unsafe abortions. If all women could avoid high-risk pregnancies, the number of maternal deaths could fall by one-quarter. Also, many family planning methods have other health benefits. For example, some hormonal methods help prevent certain cancers, and condoms help prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Family planning saves the lives of children by helping women space births. Between 13 and 15 million children under age 5 die each year. If all children were born at least 2 years apart, 3 to 4 million of these deaths would be avoided.
Family planning helps men—and women—care for their families. Men around the world say that planning their families helps them to provide a better life for their families.
Family planning improves family well-being. Couples with fewer children are better able to provide them with enough food, clothing, housing, and schooling.
Family planning helps nations develop. In countries where women are having far fewer children than their mothers did, people’s economic situations are improving faster than in most other countries. The Earth. If couples have fewer children in the future, the world’s current population of 7.0 billion people will avoid doubling in less than 50 years. Future demands on natural resources such as water and fertile soil will be less. Everyone will have a better opportunity for a good life.
Who provides Family Planning and Where?
Many different people can learn to inform and advise people about family planning. Many different people can provide family planning methods. Countries and programs have various rules about who can offer which methods and where. Still, in countries around the world these people commonly provide family planning:
- Nurses, nurse-midwives, nurse-practitioners
- Auxiliary nurse-midwives
- Physicians, including gynecologists, obstetricians
- Physicians’ assistants, physicians’ associates
- Pharmacists, pharmacists’ assistants, chemists
- Primary health care workers, community health workers
- Specially trained traditional birth attendants
- Shopkeepers and vendors
- Community members serving as community-based distributors
- Volunteers, experienced users of family planning, peer educators, and community leaders
Specific training helps all these people do a better job at providing family planning. Training needs to cover skills in informing and counseling clients about choosing and using specific methods and in screening for medical eligibility criteria as well as any specific technical skills such as how to give injections or insert an IUD.
Some common medical conditions and personal characteristics may affect choice of temporary contraceptive methods.
Click here for common conditions and contraceptive methods (PDF).
Effectiveness of Family Planning Methods
Click here to read the effectiveness of various family planning methods (PDF).
- Very effective, reversible, long-term method.
- TCu-380A IUD, the most widely available.
- IUD, lasts at least 10 years.
- No hormonal side effects with copper-bearing or inert IUDs.
- Menstrual periods may be heavier and longer, especially at first.
- Inserted and removed from the uterus by a specially trained provider using infection-prevention techniques.
- Can be inserted after childbirth by provider with special training. No effect on breastfeeding.
- No interactions with any medicines.
- Not a good method for a woman at high risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.