Experts say there are numerous advantages a woman and her family stand to enjoy when she uses effective family planning method.
The World Health Organisation notes that some family planning methods don’t only prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies, they also help to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections.
Again, experts say, family planning reduces the need for unsafe abortion through which a woman might die; while it also reinforces people’s rights to determine the number and spacing of their children.
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Sociologists consider it as being essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
For one, sociologists argue, family planning can prevent pregnancies in young women who may be at increased risk of health problems and death from early childbearing; or among older women who also face increased risks.
Gynaecologists warn that when children are born too closely to one another, it increases the risk of mortality among such children; noting also that infants of mothers who die while giving birth have a greater risk of death and poor health.
As good as family planning could be, however, women need to be aware of certain pitfalls that are associated with the unsupervised use of some family planning methods, be they pills or devices.
Some of the family planning devices and their possible side effects are listed below…
Family doctor, Femi Awoniyi, notes that while copper-bearing IUD helps protect against the risks of pregnancy and endometrial cancer, it may contribute to anaemia if a woman already has low iron blood stores before insertion and in case the IUD results in heavier monthly bleeding.
Indeed, Awoniyi says, some users have reported changes in their bleeding patterns — especially in the first three to six months.
“Such women complain about prolonged and heavy monthly bleeding, irregular bleeding and sometimes, more cramps and pain during their monthly periods,” the physician says.
He adds that even though it’s rare, in certain patients who had Chlamydia or gonorrhoea at the time of IUD insertion, physicians had found Pelvic Inflammatory Disease after some time of using the device.
Indeed, experts at fphandbook.org, an online portal that provides evidence-based guidance on family planning matters, warn that in rare cases, IUDs may “perforate the wall of the uterus,” though the injury usually heals without treatment.
They also warn about the possibility of miscarriage, pre-term birth, or infection in the rare case that the woman becomes pregnant with the IUD in place.
Awoniyi counsels women who may desire to use this family planning device to disclose their full medical history to their physicians, while they should not neglect to visit the hospital at least twice in the year for physical examination to enable the doctor determine if they are able to tolerate the device.
These are small flexible rods or capsules that are placed just under the skin of the upper arm; and they provide long-term pregnancy protection.
Experts say they are very effective for three to seven years, depending on the type of implant and body weight.
“The heavier you weigh, the less effective implants become over the years,” Awoniyi warns.
Gynaecologist, Dr. Angela Abiodun, says implants don’t just protect against pregnancies, they also pose no hindrance to return of fertility after they are removed.
While they don’t protect against sexually-transmitted infections, some users also complain of changes in monthly bleeding.
Abiodun notes that implant users are more likely to have infrequent or no monthly bleeding than irregular bleeding; while some users have also complained of headaches, abdominal pain, acne, weight change, breast tenderness, dizziness, mood changes and nausea.
Again, like other methods of contraception, if you get an implant, be aware of whatever changes you may experience in your body, if any, and report to your physician without any delay.
Combined #oral contraceptives
These are the daily pills you take if you want to prevent pregnancy if you are sexually active, and whether or not you have sex.
Abiodun warns that this is not the contraceptive for forgetful women, because missing pills can predispose a woman to risks of pregnancy, while it may also make some side effects worse.
In terms of advantages, COCs are said to protect against endometrial cancer, cancer of the ovary and symptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease.
The gynaecologist adds that COCs reduce menstrual cramps as well as menstrual bleeding problems.
She assures that women who use this contraceptive method enjoy reduction in ovulation pain, excess hair on face or body; while they also have reduced symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome such as irregular bleeding, acne, and excess hair on the face or body.
Beyond this, however, Awoniyi says combined oral contraceptives are known to give the same side effects associated with implants; while, in rare cases, they may also lead to blood clot in deep veins of legs or lungs.
The bottom line
Bodies differ, just as reactions to drugs are not the same in two individuals. Awoniyi says just as it is the case with any form of medication, it is an abuse to use a family planning method that has not been prescribed by a physician.
“It may lead to untoward consequences, hence the need to be careful,” the physician submits.
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