Chapter 17: Family planning
Choosing a family planning method
On the following pages we describe different family planning methods. Before
recommending a method, find out about the woman’s needs.
• Does she want to be sure she will not get pregnant using this method?
• Is she concerned about side effects (uncomfortable and unintended effects)?
• Does she want a method she does not have to think about every day —
or can she use a method that requires keeping charts or taking a pill each day?
• Is the woman’s partner willing to cooperate in using family planning?
• How much can this woman spend on family planning?
• Does the woman want a method that she can stop using if she wants to
become pregnant — or one that is permanent?
• Does she need a method that prevents sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
The methods described in this chapter work well to prevent pregnancy. Each of
these methods also has disadvantages. The woman and her partner may need
instruction on how to use the method. The method may cost something, it may
require a medical visit, or it may have certain health risks. Make sure you
understand how comfortable, safe, costly, or complicated each method is before
you recommend it. Make sure the woman understands too.
Consider STI protection along with pregnancy prevention
When thinking about family planning it is important to
also think about HIV and other STIs. Sexual intercourse,
which causes pregnancy, is also how STIs are passed.
Some family planning methods, like condoms, help
prevent pregnancy and protect against STIs. Some,
like birth control pills and intrauterine devices
(IUDs), only prevent pregnancy.
When you are helping a woman choose a
family planning method, you must help her
think about her risk of STIs including HIV.
See Chapter 18 to learn more about STIs.
protect me from
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 must be used. Each method has stars to show how well it prevents
pregnancy for the average user. When a man and a woman use a method correctly
every time they have sex, the method will work better.
A Book for Midwives (2010)