Hesperian Health Guides
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||Most effective when used with spermicide and water-based lubricant. Use with other methods to prevent STIs.|
|Condom for women||★★ Good|
|Diaphragm or cervical cap (with spermicide)||★★ Good||Most effective when used with spermicide. Effective only when using the correct size.|
|Spermicide or sponge||★ Some||
|More effective when used with another barrier method like diaphragm or condom.|
Birth control pill, patch, injections, vaginal ring
Nausea, headaches, changes in monthly bleeding
|These methods may be dangerous for women with certain health problems.|
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||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||To be effective, a woman must give her baby only breast milk, and her monthly bleeding must not have returned.|
||★★ GOOD||A woman must understand when she is fertile and be able to choose when to have sex with intercourse.|
||★★★★ BEST||A woman or a man will never be able to have babies after this operation.|
|Pulling out (Withdrawal)
||★ SOME||More effective when used with another method like spermicide or diaphragm.|