I RECENTLY saw a poster on social media about a presidential candidate who was promoting polygamy. According to this man, polygamous marriages can exponentially spike our population which in turn could translate into an economic boom. Perhaps this agrees with the rule of numbers in economics which says the bigger the population the better for business. A Kenyan personality is also on record saying Africans need more children. He gives examples of Indian and China which are economic giants solely on the bases of their huge populations. The more the brains the more the business ideas a country has. Kindly allow me to leave this topic for another day and now talk about Family Planning.
Family planning, birth control or contraceptive technology is the practice a couple can use to limit the number of children they wants to have, or to space them apart. One reason for this is for the couple to adequately provide for the children they have and also for the good health of the mother. If you find that your income can only support a few children, the best you can do is to limit you family to what you can afford to feed and send to school. Cutting your coat according to your cloth, they say.
A woman may want to take some time off and, say, go to college. In such cases a couple can agree on a long term contraceptive method to allow for the woman to concentrate on her studies without the demanding duties of looking after children.
There are many methods of family planning, among them the male or female condom, which can also provide protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. When used correctly and consistently the condom is very effective as a contraceptive as well as protection against HIV and STIs.
Another family planning method is the oral contraceptive or the ‘pill’ which a mother should take every day at the same time to prevent pregnancy. Next to that we have injectables like depo- provera. This is an injection that a woman takes every three months to keep her safe from pregnancy. When a woman wants to be pregnant again, all she needs to do is to stop taking the pills or discontinue the depo-provera injection.
From the above two contraceptive methods we come to the intra-uterine devices (IUD) orloop. This a copper coated device that prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg from the woman. Another hormonal IUD thickens the cervical membrane so that sperms do not penetrate. The two types of contraceptive are inserted in the woman’s uterus by a healthcare provider and may work from three to ten years. When a woman is ready to have a baby the device can be removed at any time, again, by a healthcare provider.
Norplant implants are also available. These sometimes come under the name jadelle and are essentially capsules that are inserted in the woman’s underarm by a healthcare provider, and may last for five years. They work by systematically secreting hormones to suppress the woman’s ability to ovulate, or by thickening the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperms to enter. Like in the above cases, a woman who wants a baby just has to go and have the implant removed.
Lastly but not the least, we have the surgical operations were a woman can have her fallopian tube closed so as not to release eggs. A man can also undergo vasectomy as a form of contraception. A doctor cuts the vas deferens tubes to keep sperm out of the semen. These two surgical operations of family planning are delicate and permanent and can only be done after thorough counselling and consultation from both husband and wife.
The information given here is for general knowledge and should be applied only under proper healthcare supervision. Note also that many more contraceptive methods evolve as technology advances every time.
Myths and misconceptions about family planning.
There are some myths and misconceptions about family planning, and many of them are unfounded and should be dismissed as such. Among them is the vasectomy one were men feel that they may lose their effectiveness in love making. This is not true because a man who has undergone vasectomy can still arouse a woman and produce semen, the main ingredient of the sexual act. The danger comes if a man continues to worry about the operation, this could lead to some psychological problems, which may perpetuate sexual dysfunction.
Some women experience side effects after taking certain contraceptives. The solution to this is for the affected woman to seek advice from nurses at the clinic who can find an alternative contraceptive to suit them. Other women have claimed to have conceived even after being on some family planning scheme and some have attributed this to poor nursing care or wrong drugs. The counter argument to this is that a woman may unknowingly conceive today and start family planning the following week.This may lead to unfair blame on the drug or nurses.
While myths and misconception may continue, the fact remains that contraception and family planning methods are very effective and if done properly under the supervision of qualified health professionals can lead to improved quality of life of the mother and the good welfare of children.
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