Understanding the Importance and Benefits of Family Planning

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What is Family Planning?

The World Health Organization defines family planning as “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.” To overcome the rapid growth in population, family planning promotes the empowerment and education of individuals to prevent unplanned pregnancy, as well as improve maternal health and raise child survival rates.  Moreover, with the desired number of children to support, families can direct their finances towards savings and invest further in their children's health and well-being.

In a country such as the Philippines, it is not common to talk about family planning. This is one of those topics some people deem sensitive or awkward. A number of people find the topic intimidating and  there are even those who are also unfamiliar with it because it is rarely talked about. Due to this unfamiliarity, the gap in awareness contributes to misinformation and misconceptions about family planning.

What people don’t realize is that family planning is akin to planning for financial stability. There is nothing to overthink about or be ashamed of because knowing and talking about family planning aids people and families to lead healthier lives. As more couples welcome the concept of family planning and understand its importance, they become more productive as they contribute effectively to furthering the country’s socio-economic progress.

Southstar Drug understands that family planning requires careful thinking. Through this feature, we hope to help clear the shadows away, provide options, and inspire a public consciousness about family planning.

Understand Family Planning Services

By gathering and validating information from reliable sources, Southstar Drug presents the most common family planning services and birth control products currently available for men and women. With the development and advances in the field of medicine, there are now a wide array of safe options. This includes the following:

  1. Use of barrier contraceptives. These are birth control products designed to prevent pregnancy. Basically, it helps prevent the sperm from getting to and fertilizing the eggs. Most of these barrier contraceptive products can be bought over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. such as the male and female condoms, spermicidal foam, cervical caps, and contraceptive sponges. On the other hand, another barrier type of birth control, the diaphragm, requires a doctor's examination and a prescription. Technically, the male condom and diaphragm are the most effective barrier methods, but proper use of any of these products and health conditions of an individual are factors to its efficiency.  Compared with the other methods listed below, non-prescription barrier contraceptives cost less and are more accessible through reliable essential stores like Southstar Drug. 
  2. Use of short-acting hormonal methods. These refer to birth control options for women. However, unlike the long-acting methods, these are needed to be used or taken regularly to prevent pregnancy by interfering with the ovulation and fertilization of the egg. Moreover, although pregnancy is less likely, short-acting hormonal methods do not protect an individual from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Short-acting hormonal methods include birth control pills, vaginal rings and skin patches. These methods require a doctor’s prescription to purchase. Side effects can be expected at the start of use. It is best to visit your doctor regularly for tests and check-ups. 
  3. Use of long-acting hormonal methods. These are highly effective yet reversible choices of contraceptive. They can prevent pregnancy by stopping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs or blocking the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the eggs. These methods include the intrauterine device (IUD), contraceptive implant, as well as the birth control shot or injectable contraceptives. Long-acting hormonal methods must be administered by a doctor through a proper procedure and are mostly hassle-free thereafter. Be warned though, these can cost more up front, but you can save more in the long run and worry less about unexpected pregnancy. A birth control shot is taken every 3 months, an implant can last up to 3 years, while IUDs can last from 3 years to 10 years.
  4. Sterilization. This method is irreversible unlike the other methods. It is a medical procedure where a man or woman undergoes an operation to permanently prevent fertilization. Women undergo a tubal ligation where the fallopian tubes are closed off to keep the sperm from reaching the egg, while men undergo a vasectomy which prevents the release of sperm into the semen by tying, cutting, clipping, or sealing the vas deferens. 
  5. Pregnancy testing. A pregnancy test can be done mainly through testing the blood or the urine. Between the two, home pregnancy test kits are more affordable and convenient. These test kits check the urine for a hormone that is only present in pregnant women.  Results can be seen after a few minutes but accuracy is dependent on following the instructions in the kit correctly. This is where blood tests help. A blood test can be done when you visit your doctor to verify a home pregnancy test.  It is done in a clinic by drawing blood from a vein in your arm then the sample is sent to a laboratory for testing.  Unlike the home test, results for a blood test take longer and it may be a couple of days before you know whether you are pregnant or not.
  6. There are many other family planning services. Although reading articles such as these are informative, it is best to consult your doctor and ask for medical advice. You can also talk with your partner and discern together what will work best for the both of you.

Family Planning Methods, Southstar Drug Online

What are the benefits of family planning?

Through collaboration with healthcare providers and outreach initiatives, more people can be inspired to have a more optimistic attitude towards family planning. Aside from avoiding unplanned pregnancies and improving the quality of life, family planning can also contribute to helping society break from the vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, and failed relationships. 

Southstar Drug listed a few more of the main benefits you can achieve through family planning.

Personal Health: 

  • Through publicly funded family planning services, a lot of women can access the benefits of the healthcare system.
  • Through proper use of condoms, you can prevent getting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as HIV and AIDS.

Socio-economic Status: 

  • Through awareness about family planning and access to products and services related to it, negative economic consequences can be averted. 
  • Through voluntary family planning, couples can be more productive in their jobs and potentially earn higher incomes. 
  • Through achieving the desired spacing in childbirth, families can increase financial savings and investments.

Education and Employment:

  • Through delaying having children, individuals can have the opportunity to complete their education or achieve higher degrees related to their specialization.
  • Additionally, investment in education can be an advantage to achieve career goals and aspirations, allowing individuals the freedom to explore better employment opportunities.

Better relationships

  • Through use of appropriate methods, a family can have healthy and responsible relationships achieved by exercising the freedom to make decisions about childbearing. 
  • Through observing family planning methods, couples can cope better by being more prepared with the demands of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
  • Through family planning, couples or individuals can have increased control on their reproductive health. Delaying having children, or having intervals before you have your next child can help you have more time for other things and increase interaction with family and friends. Good relationships established and sustained with the close people in your life can also provide strength and support.

Benefits of Family Planning, Southstar Drug Online

Smashing the Stigma and Myths About Family Planning

It may still not be easy to accept or have an open mind about family planning.  The myths and misconceptions around it certainly add to the misunderstanding and wrong connotation about birth control and contraceptive methods. But Southstar Drug invites you to have a fresh set of eyes and have a more informed and educated perspective. 

To shed some light and dispel the stigma that surrounds family planning, we gathered some common questions or misapprehensions to debunk. Together, let us help you understand the truth behind each one. 

“Do contraceptives cause health problems?”: Typically, side effects of using contraceptives can normally occur depending on the correctness of how it is used, the frequency and dosage of birth control pills or shots taken, how successful a procedure is administered, or the pre-existing health condition of an individual. Some side effects may include breast tenderness, headaches, weight gain, lack of regular menstrual bleeding, nausea, and/or loss of bone density. To ensure the safety and health of an individual, regular check-ups and consultation to a doctor to deal with side effects is highly advised. Generally, the National Center for Disease Prevention and Control shares, “All family planning methods are safe and effective, if properly used.”
“Do contraceptives cause infertility?”:  Except for sterilization, all other methods are temporary and reversible. The use of contraceptives, even long-acting hormonal methods, help prevent pregnancy effectively but only temporarily by blocking the sperm and egg from meeting to prevent fertilization. Discontinued use of contraceptive barriers, short and long-acting hormonal methods reverses the effects of the temporary protection and allows fertility levels to eventually return to normal over time. Still, it is also important to check for pre-existing health conditions such as hormonal problems and other diseases as these can also be factors affecting fertility. The Gynae Center, a professional gynaecology care service provider in London, advises through their website that: “If your period has not returned to normal after stopping contraception, you must seek professional help or advice from a specialist.” 
“Is family planning a form of terminating pregnancy?” Family planning does not promote termination of pregnancy but rather, it advocates for the prevention of unplanned pregnancies. Family planning prevents pregnancy through promoting the use of various methods and contraceptive options. All of these do not involve terminating a fertilized egg or a developing embryo. It only aims to educate and empower individuals to promote better health, socio-economic, education and employment conditions.
“Are family planning methods expensive?”: There are different family planning methods and types of birth control products available. Some are non-prescription while others require a check-up and prescription from a doctor. There are single use birth control products and other options with long-term effects. There are medical interventions and natural methods to choose from as well. These factors can affect the cost of each method. The most affordable and convenient birth control methods are Barrier contraceptives, but are good for a limited period or single-use only and may be more expensive in the long run. These are available over-the-counter and with no need for a prescription. Meanwhile, all hormone-based methods of birth control need a doctor’s prescription. The short-acting methods work effectively if maintained regularly and can be more affordable than the most expensive options like long-acting methods and sterilization. Although these options are more expensive, they are also more reliably effective. Doctors and experts agree that long-acting methods and sterilization work 99%-100%.
Alternatively, you can avoid the cost altogether by considering the Natural Family Planning methods that include fertility awareness and abstinence. 

Know Your Family Planning Options And Consult With A Doctor

Family planning methods work effectively if used or done correctly. The guidance and advice of a health professional or doctor can further help clarify your concerns and attend to your other questions.

Have awareness about family planning and make well-Informed choices to achieve the overall benefits and desirable outcomes in life. With family planning, experience life-changing improvements in personal health and other important factors in life. Whether you are an individual, married, or engaged in an intimate relationship, through family planning you can be more prepared physically, emotionally, and financially.

Get in touch with your doctor and have a consultation. Find available over the counter contraceptive products and other relevant items for your family planning needs at Southstar Drug.