Chapter 17: Family planning
This method may irritate the vagina, which can make it easier for a woman to
get STIs. The woman should stop using this method if it makes her vagina dry,
sore, or itchy.
The sponge can be difficult to take out, but it cannot get lost in the vagina.
It may be easier to take out if the woman squats and pushes down as if she is
passing stool, while she reaches into her vagina. If she has trouble taking it out,
she can tie a clean ribbon or string around it for the next time.
The sponge can be washed, boiled, and used again many times. Keep it in a
clean, dry place. The liquid can be made ahead of time and kept in a bottle.
Methods that do not prevent pregnancy
These are some commonly used family planning methods that do not work.
Some are also dangerous.
• Wearing charms will not prevent pregnancy. Neither will spells or prayers.
• Urinating after sex will not prevent pregnancy (though it may help prevent
urinary tract infections).
• Washing out the vagina (douching) after sex does not prevent pregnancy.
Some herbs or harsh chemicals used for douching can also injure the vagina.
Making family planning work for
Men must also be responsible for family planning
When men and women choose family planning together, it is much easier to use
family planning successfully. Because men do not get pregnant, they do not always
take the responsibility that women do for pregnancy and family planning. Many
men think of family planning as the woman’s problem.
Some men do not want their partners to use family planning.
They may want lots of children, or they believe family planning is
wrong, or they may feel that family planning is expensive or
inconvenient to use and do not see any benefits to using it.
When men support the right of women to decide when
and if they want to be pregnant, women can make the
choice to use family planning if they want to. Then
women and men can both have sex with less worry
if they do not want a child.
As a midwife, you may be able to influence
men in your community to take more
responsibility for family planning. The number
A Book for Midwives (2010)