Family Planning has been defined as the “practice of controlling the number of children that one desires and actually spacing the birth intervals using contraception”.
There are few family planning methods that range from hormonal and non-hormonal to one-time use and long-lasting use.
On the African Women Voices show aired on e.TV Ghana every Tuesday, Senior Medical Officer and Health Advocate,Dr.Ewura Adjoa Ahimah Nunoo,dilated on the topic of family planning methods and how each works.
Speaking to host, Eunice Tornyi, she made known the various family planning methods available. Namely; Condoms, the Pills, Emergency Contraception, Injections, Implants and IUD, as well as permanent family planning methods.
Condoms are non-hormonal and single-use method of family planning. Condoms are available as male or female condoms. Illustrating how condoms are worn, Dr.Ewura Adjoa made known that whilst the male condoms are worn over an erected penis, the female condoms are inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy.
According to her, female condoms are very comfortable to use unlike what others have said and the use of female condoms comes with so many benefits.
“Don’t dispose condoms in the toilet, you will have to use a tissue to dispose them in a bin.Don’t open the condom in the package with your teeth. It may punch holes in the condom”, she advised.
Pills and Emergency Contraception
For maximum effectiveness of the pills, Dr.Ewura Adjoa has advised that pills should be taken at the same time every day.
She added that the pills are highly hormonal and as such it can affect the menstrual cycle of a woman. “Pills are hormonal and so they affect your menstrual cycle. So most women tend to have irregular menstrual periods. They may have some bleeding when they are not yet due to have their menses. They may have nausea, dizziness, and vomiting”, she said.
Also, she stated that emergency contraceptive in the form of pills should be taken within 72 hours after sex. She, however, advised that emergency pills should only be taken in times of emergency; when one has unprotected sex, once in a while.
This method of family planning requires an injection from a medical professional every three months to stop the ovaries from releasing eggs that can be fertilized by the sperm.
Dr.Ewura Adjoa noted that one can change the method at any time it brings discomfort.
Intrauterine device (IUD) that may come in the form of plastic or copper is a device inserted inside the uterus to prevent sperms from fertilizing the eggs. According to Dr.Ewura Adjoa, this method can last for about 3-5 years.
Permanent Birth Controls
Whilst there are temporary methods of birth control, men and women can opt for the permanent methods which are Vasectomy and Bilateral Tubal Litigation (BTL) .
Women who choose to have the Bilateral Tubal Litigation have their tubes tied to “cut of the supply of egg”, Dr.Ewura Adjoa has said.
“With vasectomy, you still have your erections alright. Everything is there, it is just that the sperms are not part of the ejaculates that come out. You have the seminal fluids but the sperms are not part of it. It is just like you are shooting blanks”, she added.
Dr.Ewura Adjoa Ahimah Nunoo, however, commented there are few traditional methods of family planning such as the calendar method and the use of cyclical beads that can guide women know when they are ovulating.
Choosing the right family planning methods that best fit your lifestyle can improve your general wellbeing and health.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah