Family Planning and Reproductive Health
According to medical community experts, family planning has been one of the great healthcare achievements over the last 100 years. The family planning process has played a vital role in population control throughout the world. It has played a vital role in the improvement of reproductive health for women of all ages.
What is Family Planning?
Here is an overview of the family planning definition: Family planning is a process by which individuals and couples can develop a plan to control the spacing and frequency of childbirth within their lives. Doing this usually includes coming up with some kind of approach to birth control.
The process also gives women resources they can use to address their reproductive health. That includes pregnancy testing, the addressing of infertility issues, abortion care when wanted or needed, and the handling of sexually transmitted diseases.
Why Having A Family Plan Option is Important
For a lot of teenage women and women in their early 20s, the first time they walk into a family planning clinic is the first time they will be taking steps to address their reproductive health. In many cases, the family planning clinic ends up being the woman’s primary source of both reproductive health care and even general health care.
The number one responsibility that is placed on today’s reproductive health specialists is dealing with issues related to unintended pregnancies. It’s a problem that has been plaguing country after country for decades, a problem that just seems to get progressively worse. How significant is this issue? It was only a few years ago that reports were released that showed almost 50% of all pregnancies recorded in the U.S. were unwanted.
For women who end up with an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, the unintended consequences can be significant and very often devastating. This is especially true for women who are left to deal with unwanted pregnancies as single moms. The possible unintended consequences include:
- Being thrust into poverty
- Being forced out of school or the workplace
- Subjection to health issues that can affect things like breastfeeding
- The causation of mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and maternal depression
- Creation of problems with an existing family unit
- Increased exposure to domestic violence during pregnancy
- Diminished general health caused by delays in prenatal care
The problem of unplanned pregnancies goes beyond how it affects the women who are left to make important decisions under difficult circumstances. These unplanned pregnancies also have a significant impact on society. The impact starts will 10s of billions of dollars that are spent in the following ways:
- Providing prenatal care
- Performing abortions
- Helping women through the labor and delivering processes
- Providing mental health care to deal with postpartum issues
- Providing support and care for the infant for up to one year after birth
Addressing these quite serious issues is exactly why family plan initiatives have been developed. They exist to give women resources to help them stay healthy and make the right decisions related to sexual and reproductive health. They also exist to help society manage issues related to unwanted children who would otherwise be left on the streets or placed in foster care.
The Benefits of the Family Planning Process
For a lot of individuals and couples, natural family planning rules the day. These are individuals and couples who sit down, discuss family issues like finances, and come up with a workable plan for the growth of their families.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have the wherewithal to go through a natural family process. They need help in order to avoid some of the aforementioned unintended consequences. With the help of reproductive health specialists and licensed family-planning counselors, here are some of the benefits that come from these programs.
Avoiding Unplanned Pregnancies
The key to lowering the instances of unwanted pregnancy is education and information. That falls on a three-pronged attack in the battle against unwanted pregnancy.
First, women need to be educated about the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. They need an understanding of the risks that come with not properly planning family growth. That should segway into a conversation about the effects and importance of birth control.
The second factor involves educating women about birth control options and making sure they have easy access to certain options. The access would include access to birth control options like condoms for their partners, birth control pills, and prescriptions for the “morning after” medications. Many of these programs also put forth an effort to educate women about the positive attributes of abstinence as a method of birth control.
Finally, there are attempts to teach young women about the importance of the family unit. That would include the traditional family unit that includes two parents working together in raising children. With a focus on family, there are plenty of instances when unintended pregnancies are converted into wanted pregnancies.
Reducing Instances of Female Infertility
On one side of the coin are the unwanted pregnancies that can disrupt the lives of the people who fall prey to these circumstances. On the other side of the coin are women and couples who want children but have problems doing so by natural means.
Dealing with these issues demands that fertility specialists be very sensitive to the needs of the people who are dealing with infertility issues.
Much of the focus on infertility falls on the sexual and reproductive health of prospective parents. A family planning clinic can aid in dealing with these issues in the following ways:
- Provide testing and exams to locate the source or sources of infertility
- Offers drugs to help address infertility issues
- Offering access to and making recommendations on solutions to infertility to facilitate the raising of a wanted child
It’s worth noting that some of the potential solutions for infertility include adoption and the contracting of a surrogate mother. Surrogacy is available in the following forms: Traditional Surrogacy (surrogate provides the egg cell) and Gestational surrogacy (intended mother provides the egg cell).
Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases
The effects of getting and transmitting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have to be discussed to prevent societal and community issues. It also has to be discussed in order to prevent health issues that can result in infertility.
Again, preventing sexually transmitted diseases is a matter of education and providing access to the barriers that provide protection from STDs like AIDS, HPV Virus, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. Prevention options are often discussed in terms of using birth control, open communication between partners, and abstinence.
Individuals also need an understanding of exactly how each STD is transmitted, the signs and symptoms of each STD, and the treatments that are available for each STD.
U.S. society has become infinitely more complicated in recent years. The changes in morality and sexuality have played a role in how important family planning has become to both individuals and couples.
Never have these services been in as high a demand as they are now. With recent changes in abortion laws at both the national and state levels, it’s a good bet that more people will be focusing more in the future on things like pregnancy prevention and controlling the sizes of their families.