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Family Planning Is women Empowerment {Part 2}

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Saturday, September 5th, 2020

pregnant black woman

We have earlier discussed how making an informed decision on when to have children, child spacing and child Limit could be a form of empowerment for women. We also learnt the importance of planned parenting on improving quality of life for women and children. These are not possible without the use of contraceptives especially during reproductive stages of life. Many women of reproductive ages do not have adequate knowledge about all the types of contraceptive in existence. They however mostly depend on the information given to them by peers, friends, mothers, etc. many of such information is usually based on individual perception and experiences which may not be same in many circumstances and as such not reliable.

In this edition, we will discuss some types of contraceptives available and how to access them.

Contraception is anything done to prevent pregnancy. It is also deliberate prevention of conception or pregnancy. – Merriam Webster Dictionary. There are several methods of contraception categorized into three; Traditional, Natural and Modern Methods. The following are identified as the traditional methods of contraception in Yoruba land: ring, incision, wristband, etc. While abstinence, rhythm, cervical mucus methods, Withdrawal are examples of natural family planning methods. The modern methods include the following:

The Cervical Cap – Femcap: The cervical cap (sold as Femcap) is a thimble-shaped latex cup, basically like a diaphragm but smaller. It also needs to be used with a spermicide. The cervical cap must remain in the vagina at least 6 hours after sex, but it also has to be taken out within 48 hours after sex.

The Intrauterine Device (IUD): An IUD is a tiny “T-shaped” device that’s inserted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there.

The Contraceptive Implant: The implant is another option among the types of contraceptives that offer long term protection. It lasts for about three years on average. Just like IUDs, the implant does not protect against STIs. The contraceptive implant contains progestin (progesterone), the same hormone as the contraceptive pill.

The Contraceptive Sponge: The sponge is small, round-shaped foam (polyurethane) placed deep inside the vagina. It contains spermicide so that sperm does not get past the foam.

Spermicide: Spermicide is a birth control method that contains chemicals that stop sperm from moving. Spermicides are available in different forms, including creams, film, foams, gels, and suppositories. It kills the spermatozoa. Spermicides are inserted deep into the vagina shortly before intercourse.

Contraceptive Injections: This method dates back to the 60s with the invention of artificial progesterone (progestin). One shot of hormones lasts in the body for 8 to 12 weeks (3 months) and has the same effect as the pill.

The Vaginal Ring: The vaginal contraceptive ring is a small, transparent plastic ring that is inserted in the vagina and kept for three weeks.

The Contraceptive Patch: The contraceptive patch is exactly the same thing as the contraceptive pill but in the form of a patch.

Emergency Contraception: is birth control that prevents pregnancy after sex, which is why it is sometimes called “The after morning pills”, “the day after pill”, or “morning-after contraception.” It could be used right away or up to five days after sex.

Sterilization: Sterilization is an option available to both men and women. As far as male contraception is concerned, the technique is called vasectomy and consists of tying off and cutting the tubes that carry sperm – without the need for a scalpel intervention or stitches.

Condoms: Condoms are small, thin pouches made of latex (rubber), plastic or lambskin that cover your penis during sex and collect sperm. Condoms stop sperm from getting into the virginal, so sperm can’t meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy. Condoms also prevent STDs by covering the penis. This prevents contact with semen and vaginal fluids and limits skin-to-skin contact that can spread sexually transmitted infections. Female condoms are now available too.

In conclusion, there is no form of birth control that is 100% effective, so it is possible to get pregnant while using most types of birth control. However, many types of birth control, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. For example, the birth control pill and condom is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. For all forms of birth control, it is important to have a basic understanding of how they work and how to use them correctly. So you need to visit the nearest family planning centre in your environment (most times located in the primary health centres) for counselling on accessing family planning method that is suitable for you


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