Family Planning & Benefits
What does ‘Family Planning’ Mean?
Family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children one has and the intervals between their births through the use of family planning methods such as contraception or voluntary sterilization. These methods help couples regulate pregnancies and space them apart for a period of two to three years, according to what they wish for or what suits their living and health conditions.
Family planning is a plan adopted by the couple to help them decide when they want to have children, how many children they want and how to distance one pregnancy from another. Family planning allows the couple to choose the means they wish for on the basis of accurate information delivered by specialised staff in health care centres throughout the Kingdom.
Benefits of Family Planning
Family planning has social, economic and health benefits for the individual, family and community such as adequate spacing between pregnancies, reducing the number of pregnancies, and preventing unwanted or high-risk deliveries.
Benefits of Family Planning for the Mother
- Helps mothers to give birth during the best health period of their lives.
Helps mothers give their remaining children their full right to care and attention.
Reduces the number of unwanted pregnancies.
Reduces maternal mortality, saving many women's lives from high-risk pregnancies or unsafe abortions.
Saves the lives of newborns.
Ensures mothers are enjoying a healthy way of living, family planning contributes to the wellness and recovery of the mother after pregnancy.
Contributes to prevention of unwanted pregnancy. Some methods also aid in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
Reduces the heavy family load placed on the mother.
Increases the chances for women to access education and skills.
Benefits of Family Planning for the Father
- Allows the father to better provide for the family by minimizing burdens.
Reduces financial burden on the head of the household.
Protects of his health as some methods of family planning prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Benefits of Family Planning for the Child
- Healthy births with appropriate weight from healthy mothers.
Breastfeeding for as long of a period as possible.
Emotional gratification from love, tenderness and care.
Reduction of the rate of congenital anomalies and mental disability.
Improved growth and development - physically, mentally, intellectually, and in terms of health.
Benefits of Family Planning for the Family
The ability for boys and girls to better access education.
Families enjoy higher standards of living and health.
Provide a suitable psychological environment for the development of the child in a balanced social, health and psychological environment.
Family planning enables families to participate in social, cultural and economic activities as well as dedicate time to each individual child.
Benefits of Family Planning for the Community
- Improved health, education and social status of the community.
Increased opportunity for economic development and poverty reduction.
Protection of the environment by balancing natural resources with the population number.
Reduced demand for public services such as housing, water, energy, education, health and social services.
Increased per capita income.
Natural Family Planning Methods
Method 1: Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding may be used as a temporary means of family planning. Continuous breastfeeding during the first six months after birth provides some protection against pregnancy, especially with the absence of menstruation during this period. Breastfeeding can be considered a successful means of family planning, especially if the conditions for breastfeeding are specifically followed, and its effectiveness can reach up to 98%.
Method 2: Fertility Awareness
Fertility awareness, sometimes referred to as counting, is a natural family planning method based on awareness of the woman’s fertility period. This method is dependent on the ability to count the days of the menstrual cycle to determine fertility and is therefore best suited to women who maintain a regular monthly cycle. By avoiding sexual relations during ovulation (days of the cycle in which the women’s egg is released and therefore available for fertilization if met by semen), fertility awareness can serve as an effective means of birth control. Likewise, if hoping to become pregnant, fertility awareness can assist women in knowing which days they are most likely to conceive.
Method 3: External Ejaculation, Withdrawal, or “Pulling Out”
The “pulling out” method means that men ejaculate (discharge semen) outside of the woman’s vagina, thus preventing semen from reaching an egg to fertilize. If done properly, it is estimated that 4 out of every 100 women using the “pulling out” method will get pregnant but in reality, approximately 22 out of every 100 women will get pregnant using this method. One reason for this is that even if the man successfully pulls out before ejaculating, sperm on the outside of the vagina may still make its way inside the woman’s body and cause pregnancy or some sperm may be present in the pre-ejaculatory fluid (often referred to as pre-cum). Because of this, this method is best used in tandem with another form of birth control.
Hormonal Family Planning Methods
Method 1: Contraceptive Pills
Contraceptive pills, also referred to as birth control pills or simply “the pill”, are taken orally and release hormones that prevent ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult to be penetrated by sperm. Taken correctly and consistently, both forms of the pill can be over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. In the case of existing pregnancy, contraceptive pills do not cause abortion.
There are two types of contraceptive pills:
Mini-Pills: only contain progestin without estrogen which make them a good choice for women who can’t take estrogen for health reasons. All pills in the cycle are active meaning that you may or may not have a period while taking them. A progesterone-only pill is the better option for breastfeeding mothers as it boosts milk production.
Combination Pills: contain synthetic forms of two hormones, estrogen and progestin. Most pills in each cycle are active, meaning that they contain hormones, and the remaining pills are inactive, meaning that they don’t contain hormones. This type of pill is not particularly suited to breastfeeding mothers as estrogen can lessen their production of milk.
Method 2: Injections: Depo-Provera
The birth control injection Depo-Provera, or simply depo shot, is a hormonal injection taken every three months, making the shot a great alternative for those who do not want to take a pill every day. The shot contains the hormone progestin, which prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult to be penetrated by sperm. Injections are up to 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Method 3: The Implant
The birth control implant is a thin rod about the size of a matchstick that is implanted under the skin in the upper arm. It releases the progestin hormone, which prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult to be penetrated by sperm. It does not cause abortion in the case of an existing pregnancy. The implant offer protection against pregnancy for up to five years and is up to 99.9% effective.
If implanted during the first five days following the period it is immediately effective in preventing pregnancy. If implanted at any other time during the menstrual cycle, another form of birth control should be used in tandem for the first week. The implant can be removed at any time by a medical professional at the women’s request and women are able to quickly become pregnant after the removal of the implant.
Chemical Family Planning Methods
Method 1: Spermicide
Spermicide is a chemical form of birth control that comes in the form of either a cream, gel, film, foam or suppository. Spermicide is placed within the vagina before vaginal intercourse to stop semen from entering the woman’s cervix where it could impregnate an egg. Spermicide should be used with diaphragms or cervical caps in order to be effective but even so, the effectiveness rate of spermicide is relatively low at 70-80%.
Permanent Family Planning Methods
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization or permanent contraception. During the procedure, the male vas deferens are cut and tied or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization of a female through sexual intercourse.
It is a safe and simple surgical procedure that takes place within minutes in the clinic under the influence of a local anesthetic. There are no side effects or complications and it does not affect sexual ability or desire. It takes effect three months after the operation or after 20 transplants.
* High efficiency ratio of up to 99%
Knoting (Tying) the Fallopian Tubes
This is a permanent approach for women. It is a safe and simple operation carried out in the hospital. There are no side effects or complications, and it does not affect sexual ability or pleasure.
* High efficiency ratio of up to 99%
Localized Family Planning Methods
Method 1: Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An intrauterine device is a small device that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs that both change how sperm move so as to prevent them from reaching an egg.
A Hormonal IUD is a small, flexible piece of T-shaped plastic that releases a small amount of the progestin hormone over the course of several years, which prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult to be penetrated by sperm. The hormone may also help to lighten and ease periods.
A Non-Hormonal IUD is a small, flexible piece of T-shaped plastic that has copper wrapped around it (which is why it may also be called the copper IUD). The copper affects the way that sperm cells are able to move so as to prevent them from reaching and fertilizing an egg.
High efficiency ratio of up to 99.8 percent.
Method 2: Vaginal barriers
These barriers are made of soft rubber in the shape of a dome placed inside the vaginal area to cover the cervix. These barriers are used in addition to chemical means and cervical cover similar to these barriers but smaller. These barriers work on preventing the male reproductive fluid from reaching the ovaries.
Advantages and disadvantages are the same as the chemical means.
Method 3: Condoms
Condoms are a casing that is rolled on the penis before having sex. The condom is designed to stop the semen for entering a woman’s vagina. If the sperm cannot get into the vagina, it will not be able to meet with the egg and cause pregnancy.
Condoms can also help prevent getting or giving STDs because they cover the penis. This prevents the penis from coming into contact with any vaginal fluids that can spread STIs or AIDs and limits direct skin-to-skin contact. High efficiency ratio of up to 97%.
Characteristics of effective condoms:
Made of latex or soft plastic
Valid according to the validity period
Material is watery in the case of latex because the oily substances lead to rupture during intercourse
Keep it in a temperate place away from the sun or other sources of heat or in places that are subject to friction.