METHODS AND BENEFITS OF FAMILY PLANNING


Want the best for your family? Plan for financial, emotional and health advantages.


Family planning involves deciding how many children you want and the age gap you’d like between them. It’s not something that only married couples should think about as soon as you’re involved in a sexual relationship, both partners need to be aware of the responsibilities of parenthood.

Felicity Basson of the Health Systems Trust Adolescent and Youth-friendly Services (AYFS), points out that family planning starts with preventing teenage pregnancy. ‘We encourage youth from the time they become sexually active to visit their local clinics to get contraceptive advice (if you are 12 years and older you have the right to get contraception). We give information to both partners so that they can make an informed decision together.’

Related article: How to manage your money when you have a family to support

WHICH METHOD IS BEST FOR YOU?
Clinic staff will outline the benefits and side effects of the different methods: oral tablets, long-acting injections, implants (placed under the skin), intra-uterine devices (IUDs) and male and female condoms. To prevent HIV infection, condoms must be used, often together with other methods. Felicity explains that various factors influence your choice. ‘If women want to continue to have periods, then injections aren’t suitable,’ she says. ‘Where you live can also be a factor; if you live in a rural area far from the nearest clinic, the three-month injection might be the best option so you don’t need to travel as often.’ Implants and IUDs, although both are removable, are useful if the choice is to delay pregnancy for some years.



Related article: 6 Contraceptive pros and cons

BENEFITS OF PLANNING YOUR FAMILY
People postpone having a family for various reasons. Some couples simply want to spend a few years together as a couple before taking on the responsibilities of parenthood. Or they might want to study for qualifications that will help them find jobs that allow them to support a family one day. Sometimes ambitious young couples want to establish a successful career before becoming parents. Others might simply not feel ready for parenthood, and want to wait a few years until they take the plunge.

A planned pregnancy gives you the time you need to be emotionally and financially prepared for the responsibilities and changes that come with parenthood. Deciding how many children you want also helps you to plan better for their future. Once your first baby has arrived, it’s recommended to have an interval of at least two years before the next child. ‘It’s important to give the body time to heal and recover,’ says Felicity. ‘It also allows for the baby to bond with the parents, before the next baby arrives.’



Did you know?
A condom is the only contraceptive method that protects against HIV.

IT’S ALSO GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
The World Health Organisation (WHO) supports family planning because of its many health benefits:

Having planned babies at suitable intervals improves the mother’s health and also prevents high-risk pregnancies and death in childbirth. If a woman has more than four babies the risk of pregnancy and childbirth complications increases. Mothers who have planned their babies also suffer less physical and emotional strain, which results in improved quality of life and leaves them with more energy for their own and community activities.

Planning is beneficial to the baby. Pregnancies spaced more than two years apart mean a lower risk of infant death due to premature births and low birth weight. Closely spaced births also mean the mother has less time to give each child individually, which can result in emotional problems.

The family’s economic and emotional burdens are relieved. A smaller, healthier family means parents have more money to provide good food and better education opportunities for their children. Parents can also improve their work opportunities and engage with the community.

Planned families reduce strain on community resources such as healthcare and education, as well as on the environment in terms of demand for water and food, for example.

Related article: Growing your family? Everything you should know

DIRECTORY
For advice and support on family planning, visit your local clinic or contact one of the following organisations to find an office near you.

South Africa
Health Systems Trust
+2731 266 9090
www.hst.org.za

Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa
+2721 762 0700;
ppasa.wordpress.com

Botswana
Botswana Family Welfare Association
+267 390 0489
bofwa@bofwa.org.bw
bofwa.org.bw

Lesotho
Lesotho Planned Parenthood Association
+266 223 13645/ 572 57020
lppa@lppayrc.org.ls
Ippa.org.ls

Namibia
Namibia Planned Parenthood Association
+264 612 30250
info@nappa.com.na

Swaziland
Family Life Association of Swaziland
+268 505 3082
info@flas.org.sz
flas.org.sz

JET CLUB HELPLINES
Jet Club members get discounted rates on clinic services at Dis-Chem and Clicks pharmacies. For more information call our helpline

Pharmacy and clinic services helpline

SA & Namibia
0800 00 45 45

Botswana, Lesotho & Swaziland
+2711 991 8258



METHODS AND BENEFITS OF FAMILY PLANNING METHODS AND BENEFITS OF FAMILY PLANNING Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on April 06, 2021 Rating: 5
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