Having the number of children you want,
when you want them, is called family
planning. It is also sometimes called child
spacing. There are many methods, both
traditional and modern, that can be used
for family planning. Family planning
methods are sometimes called birth
control or contraception.
Why might a woman and a man want to
use family planning?
• to take time to finish their education
or have an income before they
• to allow a couple of years between
• to have only as many children as they feel they can support
• to avoid a risky pregnancy, for example if the woman has a certain illness,
or is under 17 and does not have a fully formed pelvis
Childbirth should not be dangerous, but in places where women are poor,
are not well fed, and do not have access to good health care, many women die
because of heavy bleeding and other childbirth complications. A woman may want
to protect herself by limiting the number of her pregnancies.
All women have the right to decide whether to have children and how many
children to have. However, most women face barriers to this choice. Midwives can
help women have more choices:
• by learning about family planning and sharing the information.
• by working with others to give couples more choices of family planning
• by working with the community to get men more involved in using