Family planning lets people decide how big they want their own family to be. This involves planning when to start their family, and until when they want to continue growing in number.
Couples may have their own reasons for family planning. They can have control over how many children they want, when they want to have them, and how many years apart in between each child. Couples also have the freedom to choose not have children.
The objectives of family planning involve timing the first pregnancy, planning the spacing between births, and limiting family size. There are different contraceptive methods and treatments for infertility that can be used to achieve the objectives of family planning.
The objectives of family planning aren’t just for newly wedded couples. It’s just as important and applicable to all couples, whether they already have children or not.
Before knowing the importance of family planning, it’s also good to know the history of family planning and how it came to be.
What is the history of family planning and why does it matter?
Efforts to plan, avoid, or delay pregnancy has always been the struggle of women and girls. Thankfully, the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights served as the turning point in the efforts of ending this struggle. The conference recognized family planning as a human rights obligation of all countries, governments, and policymakers.
The conference birthed the Teheran Proclamation, which stated: “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.” This means that men and women have the right to choose whether or not they want to pursue parenthood, and, if they choose to do so, choose when and how often they want to embrace it. The proclamation also recognizes every individual’s right to determine the direction of their future and what they want to pursue.
The creation of the Teheran Proclamation was pivotal in the history of family planning, especially for women and girls. The proclamation gave rise to the realization that they have the right to avoid the exhaustion and the risks of too many subsequent pregnancies with minimal time to recover.
Sadly, the importance of family planning and the objectives of family planning are still being impeded despite the 50-year existence of the Teheran Proclamation. Information about contraception and reproductive health is still limited, and women and youth are denied from accessing contraceptive methods in many countries.
What is the importance of family planning?
The importance of family planning involves the entire family, not just the couple. The unborn child and the succeeding children also benefit from family planning.
The importance of family planning for women
- She can breastfeed longer
- Chances of complications during pregnancy and childbirth are lower
- Risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and having a baby with low birth weight are lower
- She gets more time to recover from the pregnancy and childbirth
- The mom gets more time to take care of herself, her family, partner, and child/ren
- She gets more time to pursue her interests and opportunities for personal advancement
- The mom gets more time to prepare physically, financially, and emotionally for the next pregnancy
The importance of family planning for the child
- They are more likely to be born strong and healthy
- Children get more care and attention from their parents
- They get breastfed longer and reap its benefits including better nutrition and stronger immunity
The importance of family planning for men
- He gets more time to safeguard the health and needs of his partner and children
- The father has more time to prepare financially for the next child
- He can give more time and attention to his partner and children
The importance of family planning for the entire family
- The needs of each family member are met
- Helps the family build up their savings
- Helps the family invest more in the child’s education and other needs
How to achieve the objectives of family planning
Every couple may have varying reasons for family planning. These may include when they want their first pregnancy, how large is the age gap between each child, and how many children they want.
Using contraceptive methods will help couples be able to achieve their reasons for family planning and the objectives of family planning.
What are the different contraceptive methods?
There are a lot of contraceptive methods available. These modern methods are:
- Male condoms
- Female condoms
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
- Contraceptive injectables
- Oral contraceptive pills
- Hormonal patch
- Vaginal rings
- Male sterilization (vasectomy)
- Female sterilization (tubal ligation)
All modern contraceptive methods are effective and reliable in helping couples achieve the objectives of family planning. The best contraceptive method for a couple depends on their lifestyle, health condition, and their reasons for family planning.
What are some tips for family planning?
The reasons for family planning is completely up to the couple. However, it’s also important for them to be mindful of a few things when thinking of their reasons for family planning so that they get to achieve the objectives of family planning the best way possible.
Here are a few things couples should keep in mind when thinking of family planning:
It’s not ideal for women below 20 years old to have her first pregnancy. The bodies of women ages 18 and below have not yet fully developed. They may not be able to handle well the changes and load brought by pregnancy.
The mother and the child are also at higher risk for some complications if she has her pregnancy below the age of 20. The same goes for women who have their pregnancy over the age of 35.
Mind the gap
Spacing pregnancies too close together or too far apart may pose risks for the mother and child.
Research suggests that having another pregnancy within six months after a live birth may be linked to increased chances for:
- Premature birth
- Placental abruption
- Low birth weight
- Congenital disorders
- Maternal anemia
The mother does not have enough time to recover when her pregnancies are too close together. Her breastmilk may be affected because her supply of nutrients, especially folate, are depleting.
Some research shows that there may also be risks from long intervals between pregnancies, such as preeclampsia.
Experts suggest having a gap of 18 to 24 months but less than five years after a live birth before trying for another pregnancy.
Know your limits
Pregnancy and parenthood cost a lot of money and commitment to ensure that the child grows up well. When they want to have children and how many children they want is up to the couple.
As couples talk about their objectives of family planning, it’s also important to consider limits and capacities. It’s worth discussing finances, maturity, goals, and even their physical and mental health.
The objectives of family planning go way back to the Teheran Proclamation. The proclamation and the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights were key elements in the history of family planning.
The rights of every individual—especially women—to choose if they want to embrace parenthood and to determine the course of their future has finally been given importance and emphasis.
On a global scale, the fight for the importance of family planning is not over. However, most couples have the choice to exercise family planning.
The benefits and importance of family planning encompass even the lives of children yet to be born, which is why it’s vital for couples to talk about family planning.
Each couple may have their own reasons for family planning. Whatever reasons they may have, the best way to be able to enjoy and maximize the benefits and objectives of family planning is to discuss contraception and family planning methods.
There is no perfect age or time for a couple to start a family. The best time for them to have kids is when they are both ready and both fully committed to fulfilling the responsibilities that come with having their own family together.
Learn more about sexual wellness, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.