A Nurse attending to a mother at the Liberty Stadium Clinic in Ibadan. Photo: PPFN
Family planning, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children, which includes the spacing and timing of births.
Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Natalia Kanem said the decision to start a family is one of the most important choices a person can make.
He explained that women who are poor and less educated face significant economic, cultural, and institutional barriers to birth control, and dangerous forms of pregnancy prevention.
“If women had universal access to voluntary family-planning information and services, maternal deaths could be reduced by as much as three-quarters and infant deaths by as much as a fifth”. Mr Kanem stated.
A well equiped health care facilities contributed to a healthy wellbeing outcomes for infants, children, women and families.
The United Nations estimated that by 2050 the demand for family planning will grow by 40% as record numbers of young people enter the prime reproductive ages 3.
In Nigeria, the level of unmet need for family planning (20%) exceeds the level of contraceptive use (9.7%).
Nigeria, with its current demographics and without intervention, is set to double its population of 150 million people in 22 years.
Polygamy may promote competition for childbearing among co-wives which has contributed to many children not catered for.
Benefits of Family Planning
- Pregnancy complications can be minimized. These include high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, infections, miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Family planning also removes the option for unsafe abortion.
- Adolescent pregnancies can be reduced.
- Infant mortality rates can be cut down.
- Sexually-transmitted infections can be prevented.
- Family planning could prevent illegal abortions estimated to occur each day.
- Women would have more time for education and vocational development.
- Care of existing children, recreation, and other activities.
Use of Contraceptives
Contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and lower the incidence of death and disability related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.
The Federal ministry of Health and state ministries of health in Nigeria must intensify awareness on Radio, Television, Newspaper and social media in promoting family planning.
According to International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, persistent unmet need for family planning will undermine the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and compromise global efforts toward human and indeed national development.
Different Methods of Family Planning
There are various methods of Contraceptive Injection, which includes;
- The Pill
- Contraceptive Patch
- Contraceptive Ring
- External (male) Condom
- Internal (female) Condom
- Cervical Cap
- Short acting contraception methods
- Long acting contraception methods
- Long-acting contraceptive methods ranked by efficacy:
- Contraceptive Implant
- Hormonal Coil – IUS
- Copper Coil – IUD
- Other contraceptive options ranked by efficacy:
- Natural Family Planning
- Pull-Out (Withdrawal) Method
- Emergency Contraception
An IUD is a tiny device that’s inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there.
The Implant: The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. The implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant.
Birth Control Patch: The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear on the skin of your belly, upper arm, butt, or back.
Birth control pills: are a kind of medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. There are many different brands of pills. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always take it on time.
The Depo Injection (Depo-Provera): is an injection you get from a nurse or doctor once every 3 months. It’s a safe, convenient, and private birth control method that works really well if you always get it on time
Factors militating against Family Planning
These factors includes spousal disapproval, religious beliefs, cultural disapproval, fertility desires and fear of side effects, long distances of sources, poor services of family planning clinics.
Although the last 10–15 years has seen a consistent increase in knowledge of family planning among Nigerians, this knowledge varies significantly in different parts of the country.
Effective use of Family planning could save millions of infant lives each year by reducing the number of high risk births, and also leads to significant improvements in infant nutrition through sustainable breast feed.
Family planning would improve the quality of life of children through increases in the amount of parental time, reduce women exposure to any form of health risks that may occur before, during or after childbirth.
This report was written by Adeniyi Bakare; Editing by Julian Osamoto