( By Dr Tejinder Singh )

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Planning The Family

One of the major problems of India is the population explosion- in fact, we keep on adding another Australia every year to our population. Within a short period, our natural resources are likely to give way and therefore, each one of us has the obligation to contribute to the solution of this problem. Family planning refers to the practices, that will help in not only avoiding unwanted pregnancies but also help in timing of wanted births. Research all over the world has shown that child mortality, growth, development and even intelligence is related to family planning. Problems associated with a young mother have already been explained to you. Pregnancies after 35 years of age are also risky. Thus family planning can be used to maintain the quality of life.

A variety of methods are available for this purpose- the important ones include condoms, copper-T and contraceptive pills. Each of these individual methods has its own advantages and disadvantages. Family planning advice is now easily available at most health centers and even some good written material is also available on this aspect. After your marriage, you can approach your doctor, who will guide you regarding the various methods that are available and help you in making a choice that will be best suited for you.

The general recommendations regarding family planning are to delay the first pregnancy and space the second to an interval of 3-5 years. This will help you in not only giving full love and attention to your first child but also help you to regain your own health.

At times, family planning methods may fail causing an unwanted pregnancy. In such cases, one should never try drugs or other such methods to induce abortion on the advice of a friend or neighbor - rather, one should approach a qualified doctor. Abortion is now legal in India and this service is available at most health centers and nursing homes, either free or at a very nominal cost.

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