Family planning is quite a sensitive and controversial topic to discuss on, especially when it concerns a woman. A woman’s ability to choose if and when to become pregnant has a direct impact on her health and her well-being. After all, it is a woman who undergoes physical and emotional changes during and after pregnancy. According to the World Health Organisation (W.H.O),

Family Planning is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities. World population explosion has actually steered world leaders to take birth control projects as very vital. Family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children one has and the intervals between their birth, particularly by means of contraception or voluntary sterilization.

Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility. Five key facts prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO) on Family Planning are:

Key facts

  1. 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method.
  2. Some family planning methods, such as condoms, help prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  3. Family planning / contraception reduces the need for abortion, especially unsafe abortion.
  4. Family planning reinforces people’s rights to determine the number and spacing of their children.
  5. By preventing unintended pregnancy, family planning /contraception prevents deaths of mothers and children.

Pregnancy in a marriage brings about diverse physical and emotional changes – weight gain, sensitive breasts, swollen feet and mood swings, … just to mention a few. Yet often you have other people deciding that you should go through all of this, instead of you. What is more alarming is that, most of us are aware only of the barrier method or the condom method to avoid pregnancies. In many families, men still do not take responsibility for contraception and then the wife has no choice to pop a pill within 24 hours.

According to W.H.O Global Health Statistics 2012, only 56% use contraception and most couples do not opt for long-term contraception like IUDs for the fear of side effects.

Unfortunately, in a culture like ours, where family and society gets a say in everything, couples often find themselves confused, leading them to having a baby in haste, which may or may not work in their favour. But you don’t have to be one of those women who will be tossed up and down by their family or society in. You must take charge of your family planning and make it the way you desire it to be. A few way you can take charge of your family planning in your marriage are:

THE OPTIONS: Choice of Contraception
Lack of awareness is a root cause for couples not opting for different methods of contraception. Condoms and low dosage hormonal pills are also temporary solutions. The choice of contraception depends on the age of a woman. This means a 25-year-old who has two children and doesn’t wish to expand her family anymore can opt for an IUD (Intra uterine device). On the other hand, a woman above the age of 30 who still wants to have a baby at her own time can opt for other temporary methods like spermicidal jellies or foams.

THE TALK: What do you want?
It is important for a couple to be comfortable and ready to have a baby. You need to evaluate what you will be getting into mentally and physically. Couples must sit down and decide for themselves what they want from their marriage and the number of children they need and the family planning method they intend adopting.

Going to see a gynecologist right from the early stages of family planning will go a long way in helping you decide what family planning method you intend using (hormonal patch, an IUD or sterilization of either partners). It is advisable not to have the second child within a year of your first baby, even if your elders insist on getting it done with. You are bound to be exhausted and would want some quality time with your spouse. So the best thing to do would be to talk to your spouse about it and inform the family that it is a joint decision.

There are good and safe ways of preventing pregnancy. Family planning should not be done in such a way that either husband or wife gets harmed. It should also not be a permanent kind of prevention. You may find babies adorable and may not mind babysitting your niece or nephew. But raising a kid of/on your own is quite different ball game and no one can decide if you’re ready or not, except you. So, take the power in your hands, enlighten yourself and make the right decision.

Source: | | W.H.O

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