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Family Planning and Welfare




Family Planning means planning by an individuals or couples to have only the children they want, when they want them. This is responsible parenthood. Family Welfare includes not only planning of births, but the welfare of the whole family by means total family health care. Family Planning is based on the fact that we have the ability to control births and thus limit family size and population size.


Importance of Family Planning to the family and community:


Family Planning is now considered to be one of the essential human rights and as required for better quality of life. Child spacing can be very important to family health and can help women gain greater freedom and equality. If women were free to decide on family size and to practice family planning, they would mostly have only two or three children.


Let us compare an unplanned family with a planned family and consider the socio-economic and health factors in each.

Health Factors:


Planned Family: With only two children well spaced, the mother’s health is usually good. She cares well for the family including nutrition. Health risks to mothers and babies are very much reduced. The small family is healthy, happy and content.


Unplanned Family: having too many pregnancies too quickly, the mother becomes tired, anaemic and weak, she may die early. There are abortions, stillbirths and births of small, weak babies. Death of children makes parents want more children. Illness and Deaths of children are common in an unplanned family.


Socio-economic Factors:


Planned Family: Education Usually free couples to decide to plan the family. Mothers above 20 years usually have no problems in birth. Two children only are well cared for by the parents. They usually grow up to become useful citizens. In a small family the money goes further and standard of living improves. The mother has time and energy to improve her education and employment.


Unplanned Family: Religion, tradition and illiteracy often result in an unplanned family. Mother too young for child-bearing results in greater health risks. Parents are worried because they can’t meet the need of a large family. Children are under-fed and may be sent to work instead of school. They may become delinquent. Parents often go into debt and the standard of living goes down. The mother is often too busy and tired to take interest in anything outside the home.

Contraception and Family Planning Methods:


Physiology of contraception: Conception or pregnancy occurs when the sperm(Male cell) meets the ovum (Female cell) as a result of coitus (The sexual act).


Contraception includes all the methods of preventing conception. Contraceptive methods vary and none in ideal. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. The ideal contraceptive would be one that is:


Effective in preventing Pregnancy, Safe as regards health, Acceptable to males and females, in all communities, Simple needing little or no medical attention and supervision, Reversible so that there may be a pregnancy when wanted, Inexpensive.


Temporary Methods: Temporary methods have the advantage that they can be discontinued easily, when a pregnancy is desired. Their main use is in spacing births.


Mechanical Contraceptives: Intra-Uterine Device(IUD), Diaphragm, Condom.


Chemical Contraceptives: Foam Tablets, Cream and Jellies, Herbs and salt with vinegar or lemon juice.


Hormonal Methods: Oral Contraceptive Pills to be taken by the women, The male pill aiming to prevent formation of sperms(This is still under research), Injections of Depo Provera or other preparations.


Natural Methods: Rhythm or safe period method, Ovulation Methods, Withdrawal Method, Abstinence, Surgical Methods.