Let’s Talk Family Planning – The Hindu BusinessLine

Contraception is not only an effective tool for family planning, it also plays a central role in preventing maternal mortality and ensuring women’s health. The World Health Organization says preventing unwanted pregnancies is vital to reducing maternal mortality (death during pregnancy and childbirth). And family planning is recognized as an important pillar of safe motherhood.

A Union Health Department report highlights that if the current unmet need for family planning can be met over the next five years and coupled with the availability of safe abortion services, it will help avert nearly 35 000 maternal deaths and 1.2 million infant deaths.

First pregnancy

Delaying the first pregnancy until a woman is at least 21 years old and waiting two to three years after childbirth before planning another baby can significantly improve health outcomes. All women, including adolescents, must have access to contraception, safe abortion services and quality post-abortion care.

Today, several contraceptive methods are available to couples depending on their contraceptive needs, lifestyles and preferences. To avoid pregnancy for a short time, various temporary modern contraceptives are available. These include condoms and pills. Couples who want to avoid pregnancy for longer can choose long-acting reversible contraceptives. Some innovative options include injectables, intrauterine devices, and subcutaneous implants.

Enabling ecosystem

Due to socio-cultural barriers, women are often reluctant to seek information about contraceptive methods and understand their benefits. Women need a supportive ecosystem that respects their choices and enables them to adopt a contraceptive method that is right for them.

The way forward is to engage in an open conversation with partners and health service providers about the choices available. Consciously choosing a contraceptive method for family planning purposes improves the lives of couples. This, in turn, impacts the overall quality of life of the family and contributes to the community and society.

(The author is president of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Societies of India (FOGSI). Opinions are personal.)

Published on

September 04, 2022

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