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Choosing a family planning method

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 13: Family Planning > Choosing a Family Planning Method


Once you have decided to use family planning, you must choose a method. To make a good decision you must first learn about the different methods, and their advantages and disadvantages.

There are 5 main types of family planning methods:

  • Barrier methods, which prevent pregnancy by keeping the sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Hormonal methods, which prevent the woman’s ovary from releasing an egg, make it harder for the sperm to reach the egg, and keep the lining of the womb from supporting a pregnancy.
  • IUDs, which prevent the man’s sperm from fertilizing the woman’s egg.
  • Natural methods, which help a woman know when she is fertile, so that she can avoid having sex at that time.
  • Permanent methods. These are operations which make it impossible for a man or a woman to have any children.


FAMILY PLANNING METHOD
Protection from Pregnancy Protection from STIs Possible Side Effects Other Important Information
Condom for men ★★ Good good STI protection Most effective when used with spermicide and water-based lubricant. Use with other methods to prevent STIs.
Condom for women ★★ Good good STI protection
Diaphragm (with spermicide) ★★ Good some STI protection Most effective when used with spermicide. Effective only when using the correct size.
Spermicide ★ Some no STI protection

Skin allergy
More effective when used with another barrier method like diaphragm or condom.
Hormonal Methods

Birth control pill, patch, injections

Implants
★★★

VERY GOOD


★★★★

BEST
no STI protection

Nausea, headaches, changes in monthly bleeding
These methods may be dangerous for women with certain health problems.
IUD ★★★★ BEST no STI protection

heavy and painful monthly bleeding
This method may be dangerous for women with certain health problems.
Sex without intercourse (penis not inside vagina at all) ★★★★ BEST some STI protection Sexual touch rarely passes STIs. Oral sex is less likely to pass STIs. Anal sex easily passes STIs.
Breastfeeding (during the first 6 months only)
★★★ VERY GOOD no STI protection To be effective, a woman must give her baby only breast milk, and her monthly bleeding must not have returned.
Fertility awareness
★★ GOOD no STI protection A woman must understand when she is fertile and be able to choose when to have sex with intercourse.
Sterilization
★★★★ BEST no STI protection A woman or a man will never be able to have babies after this operation.
Pulling out (Withdrawal)
★ SOME some STI protection More effective when used with another method like spermicide or diaphragm.


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