Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children, if any, and to determine the spacing of their pregnancies. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of infertility.
Contraceptive information and services are fundamental to the health and human rights of all individuals.
The prevention of unintended pregnancies helps to lower maternal ill-health and the number of pregnancy-related deaths. Delaying pregnancies in young girls who are at increased risk of health problems from early childbearing, and preventing pregnancies among older women who also face increased risks, are important health benefits of family planning.
By reducing rates of unintended pregnancies, contraception also reduces the need for unsafe abortion and reduces HIV transmissions from mothers to newborns. This can also benefit the education of girls and create opportunities for women to participate more fully in society, including paid employment.
According to 2017 estimates, 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions have an unmet need for contraception. Reasons for this include:
There are many different types of contraception, with varying rates of effectiveness depending on correct usage. Some methods may be obtained over the counter, others may require medical advice or even surgical intervention.
Health care providers play an important role in helping people find and use a method that is both effective and acceptable. Methods include:
Usually oral pills or implants, patches or vaginal rings. They release small amounts of one or more hormones which prevent ovulation.
Devices inserted into the uterus where they release either a copper component or a small amount of a hormone (Levnorgesterol) to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
It is possible to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if contraception has failed, either with a pill or with an IUD. There is a five-day window for this.
Male condoms sheath a penis. Female condoms fit loosely inside a vagina. Both form a barrier that prevent sperm and egg from meeting. Sterilization Considered a permanent method that blocks sperm in men and eggs in women. Voluntary and informed choice is essential.
A temporary method of contraception for new mothers whose monthly bleeding has not returned. During this period, eggs are not released and so pregnancy cannot occur.
Source: World Health Organisation
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