An estimated number of 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern family planning method (WHO, 2017).
As a result of that, majority acquire pregnancies of which they have no plan for keeping, and later result to abortion as their their way out.
Why risk your life when there are a myriad of contraceptive methods you can choose from.
I would like to emphasize that, family planning reduces the need for abortion, especially unsafe abortion, and as a matter of fact they reinforce your right to determine the number and spacing of your children.
In addition to that, the benefits of family planning are seemingly endless, thus, in this article I would like us to explore what family planning is, its significance, and the various forms of contraception you can choose from.
It is therefore my hope that after reading this article you would come to conclusion on which method you will go for. Enjoy reading !!!
What is Family Planning?
Family planning is deciding the number and spacing of your children; through the use of contraception: such as abstinence, natural planning, or hormonal birth control.
What are Some of the Benefits of Family Planning?
- Family planning reduces the need for abortion, especially unsafe abortion.
- It reinforces your right to determine the number and spacing of your children.
- It prevents unintended pregnancies
- Male and female condoms provides dual protection against the contraction of STI’s
- Family planning empowers you to make informed choices about your sexual and reproductive health.
- It plays a key role in slowing unsustainable population growth and the resulting negative impacts on the economy, environment, national and regional developmental efforts.
What Family Planning Methods are Available?
Currently in Ghana, the under-listed contraceptive methods are available:
- Long-acting reversible contraception, such as the implant or intra-uterine device (IUD)
- Hormonal contraception, such the pill or Depo Provera injection
- Barrier methods
- Emergency contraception
- Fertility Awareness
- Permanent contraception
Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods
These are contraceptives that lasts for a very long time. They basically comprises of :
- The intra uterine device (IUD) that lasts for five to ten years.
- The implant also lasts for three or five years.
These method of contraception have been scientifically proven to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancies.
One benefit of these contraceptive method is that once you are on it, you won’t need to remember it every day or every month as compared to some of the other forms.
This method employs the use of hormones to hinder pregnancy. It is compose of the pill method and Depo provera injection.
The pill method is also sub-divided into two categories:
- Combined oral contraceptive pill
- Progestogen-only contraceptive pill
With the pill method you take one pill each day. It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if you take your pills correctly.
Now with Depo provera injection, you take this injection once in every 3 months to protect you against pregnancy. Once this injections are taken on time, it is 99% effective at preventing any unwanted pregnancy.
Barrier Methods of Family Planning
The reason why this is called “barrier method” is that: they prevent the direct entry of sperm into the vagina. They include the male and female condoms.
More importantly, they are the only known and proven method of contraception that prevent the contraction of sexually transmitted diseases.
This method involves two forms:
- The Emergency Contraceptive pill
- Copper T
The emergency contraceptive pill is approved to be taken up to three days after unprotected sex. Essentially, emergency contraceptive pill is 98% effective if you are a woman with an average weight.
Thus, for women who weigh more than 70kg, the emergency contraceptive method is less effective, hence it is preferred to go for Copper T. Copper T can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Take note: Emergency contraceptive can be used if;
- you haven’t used protection
- your normal contraception fails e.g. the condom tears
- you have missed more than one contraceptive pill
- you have been vomiting or had diarrhoea while on the pill
- you have missed your injection
- you have been forced to have sex without contraception.
Be advised, you should not use emergency contraceptives as your regular method.
This involves learning the signs of fertility in your menstrual cycle that would enable you plan or avoid a pregnancy.
Permanent Family Planning Methods
This form is also known as sterilisation. It is known to prevent all future pregnancies. In males it is called vasectomy, whereas in females it is called tubal ligation.
Be advised: This method is irreversible so be sure before deciding if this option is the one you want.
My Final Thoughts
Family planning services are almost available in all approved medical facilities. So feel free to walk into any health facility near you to request these services.
Also, be certain of which method that best suits you.
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