( By Dr. Vithal Prabhu )

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Family Planning

  1. Family planning is planning to have one's family at a time that is best for both, parent and the child. It is not merely restricting members of the family, but also keeping reasonable age distance between two children, antenatal care, premarital counselling, provision of sex education, prevention of unwanted pregnancies, and also providing facilities for adoption. However, the meaning of family planning has reduced only to birth control.

  2. "Contraception" means prevention of conception or pregnancy. Contraception enables people to have sexual intercourse without unintended pregnancy. Contraception is useful for spacing between two children. Three years of spacing is thought to be ideal. Any method used to prevent conception is called a "Contraceptive".

  3. All children are loved. The aim of contraception is to have children as and when required.

  4. Decision about having children is based on income, accomodation, time, ability for responsible parenting and personal wishes. Decide yourself how you want to plan your family. Do not anyone else decide for you.

  5. There are several different methods of contraception. Each contraceptive method has advantages and disadvantages. The use of contraception and its method should be talked to the partner. While choosing a contraceptive, people should consult their doctor to find out most suitable contraceptive for them. Once chosen, the contraceptive should be used effectively and consistently.

  6. Safe and reliable contraceptive methods for preventing/postponing the pregnancy and for spacing between two children:

    (a) For males -- Condom (b) For females -- Copper T -- Pill Permanent methods of contraception are: (a) For males -- Vasectomy (b) For females -- Tubal ligation There are several other methods of contraception, but they are not reliable. Their failure rates range from 20 to 40 percent. These methods are: (a) Diaphram (b) Foam (c) Withdrawal (d) Rhythm (e) Mucus

  7. A. Condom (Nirodh): It is a thin rubber sheath, to be used by males. It prevents sperms from entering into vagina. It is placed over the erect penis before intercourse. After ejaculation, it should be held in place while removing the penis so that the semen does not spill. It should not be reused. Condom is cheap and effective. It also prevents STD/HIV infection. Effectiveness: 85to 95%

    B. Copper T: This device is for the females. It is a T shaped plastic device with a thin wire of copper wound round the vertical limb and two strings at its end. This is device inserted in the uterus and strings are left hanging in vagina. It weakens the seprms and does not allow the fertilized ovum to settle in the uterus. Pregnancy can occur after the removal of copper T. There are several myths about Intrauterine device like copper T These are: " IUD causes bleeding" " IUD causes sterility" " IUD strings hort penis" " IUD gets lost inside" Effectiveness: 95%

    C. Pill: Pills are taken by female. Pills are known as oral contraceptive Pills contain female sex hormones. A package contains 21 pills. One pill is taken daily for 21 stopped for seven days before starting the a new package. The myths are: " Pill causes cancer" " Pill causes sterility" " Pill causes deformed babies." Effectiveness: 95%

    D. Vasectomy: It is a surgical procedure for permanent contraception and is also known as "Male sterilization". It prevents sperms from enter into semen. It is a simple procedure. The Vas deferens is identified, cut and ligated on both sides. Myth: Vasectomy causes impotence" E. Tubal ligation: This is "Female sterilization." It is a prmanent method of contraception in females. It prevents sperms from meeting ovum. A small incision is given on the lower abdomen. Fallopian tube A small incision is given on the lower abdomen, Fallopian tube is identified, cut, and ligated on both the sides. A quick and simpler procedure of tubal ligation is known as "Laperosopic strilization." A pencil thick instrument called 'Laperoscope' is inserted in the abdomen near the navel of the female, fallopian tube is identified, its loop is picked up, and ligated with a small ring. Myth : "Woman becomes at after the operartion"

  8. Abortion (Medical Termination of Pregnany): A woman has a right to terminate the unwanted/unplanned pregnancy. M.T.P. should be done only at the government approved medical centres. Abortion upto 20 weeks of pregnancy is legal. Abortion is not a contraceptive method since complications like bleeding, infection, shock, pain, infertility, perforation of uterus may occur. It should be used as a remedy for contraceptive failure.

    Pregnancy is ended by removing the baby from the uterus before 20th week of pregnancy. The procedure depends upon the duration of pregnancy. Counting is done from first day of the last menstrual period.

    1. Menstrual Regulatio (M.R.): This is done before 6 weeks of pregnancy. The lining of the uterus along with products of conception is removed by gentle suction by a syring through a canula passed into the uterus.

    2. Dilatation and Currettage (D & C) : This procedure is used for pregnancy of 7 to 12 weeks. The contents of the uterus are removed by scraping with a spoon shaped instrument, currette".

    3. C. Vacuum Aspiration : This has replaced D & C. A thin plastic canula is introduced in the uterus and the other end of the canula is connected to the suction apparatus, which aspirates all the cotents of the uterus.

    4. D. Midtrimester abortion : This procedure is adopted when pregnancy is of 13 to 20 weeks. Admission to the hospital is required. This is a painful and more risky procedure than the previous ones. Prostaglandin or saline is given through the abdomen of the pregnant female causing labour to begin. The uterus contracts and expels the baby out.

  9. Which is the 100% effective contraceptive? The word, "No". Saying 'no' intercourse or abstinence is the only 100% effective contraception. Abstinence poses no risks, no cost, no side effects, no STD/HIV infection, and no worry. Nonpenetrative sex i.e. sex without peno-vaginal intercourse can be a safe method of expressing love and shaing pleasure.
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