Healthy
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ESSENTIAL BENEFITS OF FAMILY PLANNING

The health and overall well-being of a family can be well protected if each child is deliberately planned rather than just “being born”.

Adequate birth spacing practices can reduce child mortality significantly. Approximately 100,000 maternal deaths could be avoided yearly if all women who are certain they don’t want more babies or are not ready to have children were to stop childbearing.

According to the World Health Organization, family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.

TYPES OF FAMILY PLANNING

Family planning is attained through contraception. There is a vast majority of contraception methods. Cited below are some examples of contraception methods.

1.Reversible contraception

This includes the Intra Uterine Device (IUD) or the implant. To use the IUD, your doctor will use a speculum to allow for easy access into your vagina and inserts the IUD into your uterus. An IUD can last for between 3 to 6 years for the hormonal options and up to 12 years for the non-hormonal options.

For the implant, your doctor inserts it under the skin in your upper arm.
The implant can last for up to 5 years.

2.Barrier methods

The condom is the main barrier method of contraception. They keep the semen from entering the vagina. The male condom is worn on an erect penis. On wearing the condom, the tip of the condom is held to leave some space at the end to accommodate the semen. The female condom can also be used.

3.Hormonal Contraception

Examples include the pill or depo Provera injection. The hormones in the pill and depo Provera stop ovulation. Hence, no pregnancy occurs because no egg (ova) will be readily available for fertilization. It also thickens cervical mucus thus preventing fertilization.

4.Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception (the morning after pill), when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex can also prevent pregnancy.

5.Permanent Contraception

This includes vasectomy and tubal ligation. Vasectomy is when the vas deferens (a tube which transports sperm to the urethra) is ligated and sealed. Tubal ligation is when the fallopian tubes are permanently sealed.

BENEFITS OF FAMILY PLANNING

Family planning has important benefits for both the mother and the child. Some benefits include:

1.Reducing infant mortality

Closely spaced births and ill-timed pregnancies can be prevented with family planning. This can reduce infant mortality rates.

2.Reducing Teenage Pregnancies

Many adolescents who get pregnant and don’t want the child resort to abortions which are mostly unsafe abortions and can lead to the death of both the mother and the baby. They are also likely to drop out of school which has long term implications on them. Pregnant adolescents are at a higher risk of delivering preterm and low birth weight babies.

3.Slowing population growth

The key to slowing unsustainable population growth is family planning. This reduces the pressure on the economy, environment and developmental efforts of the country.

4.Prevention of HIV/AIDS

The only forms of contraception that protect against HIV/AIDS are using condoms and abstaining from vaginal sex. The risk of unintended pregnancies is reduced among women living with HIV. This leads to fewer infected babies.

5.To avoid unwanted births

Smaller families mean more time, food and money for each child. Family planning reduces the risks of unsafe abortions. Well-spaced births also enable the mother to regain her health after delivery.

SUMMARY

Family planning helps preserve the fertility and health of women and generally improves the overall well being of their lives. It also improves children’s health ensuring they are given ample time, food and education. Last but not least, family planning can support efforts to achieve a sustainable adequate population size.