How family planning methods work 187
How family planning methods work
Every month, there are times when a woman is fertile and can become pregnant,
and times when she is not fertile and cannot become pregnant. Most women
produce one egg each month. The egg is released from the woman’s ovary. The egg
lives for about 24 hours (one day and one night) after it is released from the ovary.
The man’s sperm can live up to 2 days inside the woman’s body. If the woman’s
egg has been released while the man’s sperm is inside her body, she can become
pregnant. For more information on pregnancy, see pages 77 to 80.
Family planning methods work to change a woman’s fertility and prevent
pregnancy in different ways:
• Barrier methods (condom for men, condom for women, diaphragm, cervical
cap) stop a man’s sperm from reaching the woman’s egg (see page 189).
• Intrauterine devices (IUD, IUCD, IUS, Copper T, the Loop) keep a man’s sperm
from fertilizing the woman’s egg (see page 195).
• Hormonal methods (pills, injections, implants) keep the woman’s ovary from
releasing an egg. Some also affect the womb or the mucus in the cervix so
sperm cannot fertilize an egg there (see page 196).
• Natural methods help a woman know when she is fertile (the time in a
woman’s cycle when she can get pregnant), so she can avoid having sex during
that time (see page 200).
• Permanent methods (sterilization) are operations that stop a man from
releasing sperm, or prevent a woman’s eggs from reaching her womb
(see page 203).
On the next page is a chart that shows how well each method works to prevent
pregnancy and to protect against STIs. The chart also shows what the possible
side effects are for each method and other important information about how the
method may affect your disability. Each method has stars to show how well it
prevents pregnancy. Some methods have fewer stars even if they are fairly effective
methods, because they are often used incorrectly. When a man and a woman use a
method correctly every time they have sex, the method will work better.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007