Some couples plan to have children immediately after getting married. Others prefer to enjoy their honeymoon lives a little longer before having a family. Singles, on the other hand, who are sexually active use contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancies and to protect themselves from STIs.
Family planning is healthy and should be promoted by everyone who is of adult age.
Family planning, as concluded by the National Research Council’s Committee on Population’s working group assessment, is important for the improvement of the health of women and children in developing countries.
In most developed and developing nations, the availability of birth control and family planning programmes are readily available. Easy access to such services and information should be encouraged to improve prenatal care, encourage breastfeeding, and develop better programmes for families, couples, and individuals alike.
At the point of writing this article, approximately 40% of pregnancies are unplanned. And perhaps because of this, women (and their partners) are less mentally, financially, and emotionally, for pregnancy and parenthood. Unprepared parents also have fewer resources for antenatal care and face more challenges after the delivery of the baby.
Unplanned pregnancies are also more frequent within the lower socioeconomic strata where access to information, education, and proper healthcare is less readily available.The availability of birth control methods is also a form of women empowerment.
Other benefits to family planning and usage of birth control methods like pregnancy pills, IUD, cervical caps, and spermicides are:
This tried and true birth control method is the most common and cost-effective birth control method throughout the world. Compared to other forms of birth control types, this is the only one that helps prevent the spread of STIs.
Commonly used, the contraceptive pill contains estrogen and progestin to halt the ovulation process. It also increases the thickness of the mucus in the cervix to slow down the progress of sperm. It’s been said that this form of contraception is about 91% effective.
If you’re not keen on popping the pill or believe that you may forget your daily dosage, using the patch method is more suitable. You’ll only need to replace the patch weely and you wear it for three weeks, removing it on the 4th week.
Said to be approximately 94% effective, a general practitioner or gynaecologist can perform the contraceptive injection every three months to prevent ovulation; it works pretty much like the birth control pill. This form of contraception is preferred by many sexually active women because it is non-invasive. The downside is that it may take up to 14 weeks to ‘recover’ from the effects of the injection should you decide to have kids again.
Boasting of up to 99% effectiveness, the contraceptive implant works for up to 3 years after the implant and can be taken out earlier if so desired. The progesterone implant is inserted into the arm to prevent ovulation by slowly releasing hormones that prevent pregnancy. The good thing about the usage of this contraception is that you will quickly regain your ability to get pregnant after you stop using it.
The IUD is a small T-shaped device that fits into the uterus that stops sperm from reaching and fertilizing the eggs. Having a direct spermicidal effect, it does NOT contain hormones, so you will still get your periods. As long-term contraception, your periods may become heavier and more painful during the first few months; the pain, however, tapers off after a while. The IUD is 98% effective and can be left in the womb for up to five years. It is possible to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.
Although technically not contraception per se, it is an emergency measure that can be taken by women to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It works the same way as a birth control pill and is effective as long as it is taken 120 hours after intercourse. The morning-after pill is to be used as a form of emergency when, for instance, there was a tear in the condom or if you’ve forgotten to take your usual birth control pill. It is often viewed as a last resort instead of conventional birth control.
As a sexually active woman, you may have your reasons to prevent pregnancy. A study shows that 84% of couples who engage in regular sex without any form of protection will get pregnant within a year.
Some of the reasons why you may either use the birth control pill or opt for the IUD would be:
It's great for you to consider the following factors before deciding on a contraceptive method.
Thankfully, the cost of contraception and its devices are not exorbitant. They’re relatively affordable and the most common type, like birth control pills and condoms, are readily available in either pharmacies, clinics, government hospitals, or convenience stores.
Speaking to your doctor is important and they are in the best position to help you determine the right contraceptive method for you. Do not feel shy to speak about your lifestyle and preferences because the doctor is there to help you make the right decision and having the right information is crucial.
If you need to speak to a doctor or encounter situations whereby you or your family members are unable to visit the hospital or clinic, you can always book a virtual consultation with the Speedoc app or call us for an appointment or doctor house call visit.