When to Consider Seeking Family Planning Support?

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Most of the time it will be women who start to think about family planning. It is advised that couples talk about family planning before they start to have sex. This will allow the couple to talk about sex and be open to one another about when they would want to start a family. Some cultures expect couples to have children straight after marriage, but counsellors advise that husbands and family members need to be well informed about healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies if women want to decide to postpone the pregnancy.


What Does a Couple Need to Consider When Planning a Family? 

A couple needs to think about when they want to have a child. If they do not want to have a child right away, they need to do family planning before having sex. Family planning is about how many children you would want and when you would want them. Should you consider having a second child after your first child, it is recommended that you have a 24-month interval. This is to reduce the risks for the mother and baby. 


Health Benefits of Family Planning

Planning on when to start a family can give you the opportunity to first complete your studies and education. Waiting 24 months to get pregnant after the first baby can have health benefits for the mother and baby. If you plan how many children, you want you can ensure enough resources and time dedicated to each child. Family planning can also take the stress off women who do not want to become pregnant.

Using condoms can prevent you from getting an STI or HIV infection. Younger women can use family planning as a strategy to only get children when their bodies are mature enough. Older women can prevent unwanted pregnancies with family planning.


What Types of Family Planning are There?

There are different types of family planning. Most of the options are for women.

  • Birth control, oral contraceptives
  • Emergency contraception
  • Combined oral contraceptive pill
  • Tubal ligation
  • Fertility awareness
  • Diaphragm 
  • Birth control implant
  • Male condom
  • Vaginal ring


Which Type of Family Planning is Best?

There is a variety of family planning options, each woman’s body is different which means that there is no one-size-fits-all. The best family planning method for you will be influenced by your health and circumstances. If you have a family history of breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about family planning. It is not safe for someone who is smoking or has a family history of cancer to use hormonal contraceptive options. In such a case your doctor will most likely inform you about safe sex and condoms. 


How Effective is Family Planning?

Family planning is very effective if you use it correctly. Some women might get pregnant while on oral contraceptives but there are a few factors that play a role, did she take the pill every day at the same time, was she on a course of antibiotics while on the pill? If you do not take the pill at the same time every day, you do have a risk of falling pregnant. If you are on a course of antibiotics your healthcare provider will inform you that you should not have sex during that time while on an oral contraceptive. Taking antibiotics while on the pill will increase your chances of an unplanned pregnancy. 


Contraceptives That are More Than 99% Effective

There are a few contraceptive options that are more than 99% effective. Speak to your healthcare provider about which option will be best for you.

  • Contraceptive implants (this will last up to 3 years)
  • Intrauterine systems (IUS) (this will last up to 5 years)
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) (this will last up to 5 – 10 years)
  • Female sterilisation (this will be permanent)
  • Vasectomy (this will be permanent)


Which Contraceptives Are Less Effective?

The reason why contraceptives would be less effective is because of incorrect use. Oral contraceptives need to be taken daily and should not be skipped once. The contraceptive patch needs to be replaced every week. The vaginal ring will need to be renewed once a month. Natural family planning is another option that needs to be considered carefully. This is when the woman will regulate her temperature every day to avoid sexual intercourse while ovulating. When using condoms there is a chance of rupturing, and this can lead to an unplanned pregnancy. 

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