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Smart Family Planning

Family Planning (FP) is having the desired number of children through various safe and effective methods.1

For most, this means birth spacing or stopping unwanted pregnancies that may or may not be associated with health and economic consequences that concern families, especially those who are from low and middle-class sectors.

With 105 million in population, the Philippines has the fastest annual growth rate in Southeast Asia. This aforementioned number is set to balloon to 125 million by 2030.2

Data shows that Filipino families need better access and education on family planning methods available in the country. Right now, most women use less effective, short-acting contraceptive methods3 which can only do so much Here, we’ve outlined some things that might be useful for your plans:

What are the benefits of family planning?

Curbing unplanned pregnancies
Family planning helps women prevent childbirth complications like gestational diabetes, infections, miscarriages, and more.4 Careful planning for women of a certain age range will be beneficial, too, to avoid maternal mortality or stillbirth.

Better quality of life
When parents plan accordingly, their life as a family may be better financially, mentally, and physically. For children, devoted attention, security, and love can be provided when there’s enough time to be the center of care of their parents. Both parents can adjust appropriately and they can advance their families and careers during the gap.

Prevention against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
If a couple does not have immediate plans to have children, contraceptives are more than helpful in preventing unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and more.

What methods are available?

Fortunately, there’s an array of choices when it comes to birth control. Couples can choose whatever they deem suitable for their plans; choosing short-term or long-term methods in terms of safety, effectiveness, and affordability.

REVERSIBLE METHOD

  • Levonorgestrel Intrauterine System (LNG IUD) – a small T-shaped device placed inside the uterus. This is designed to release small amounts of progestin every day to prevent procreation and is effective for up three (3)
  • Copper T Intrauterine Device (Copper T IUD) – a small T-shaped device that a doctor places inside the uterus to prevent pregnancies for up to 10 years.

HORMONAL METHODS

  • Birth Control Injections (Shots) – Hormone progestin shots women get every three months.
  • Combined Oral Contraceptives – Prescribed by a doctor, “the pill” has estrogen and progestin and has to be taken consistently at the same time every day.
  • Progestin Pill – An option for women who may not be able to take estrogen, the progestin-only pill only has one hormone — progestin. Should be taken same time each day.
  • Implants – A single, thin rod inserted into the upper arm of women; designed to release progestin; effective for up to three (3) years.
  • Contraceptive Patch Worn on the lower stomach area, buttocks, and upper body to release progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. Apply a new patch once a week for three weeks. Skip the fourth week for a normal menstrual cycle.

BARRIER METHODS

  • Condoms (Male & Female) Small thin pouches made from latex, lambskin, or plastic that are meant to block semen from getting into the vagina. Use every time, check for holes, and wear properly.
  • Cervical Caps Another device to prevent sperm from getting into the uterus; it’s a reusable silicone cup that’s effective for spermicide.

FERTILITY TRACKING METHOD

  • Routine checks: Ways to help you keep track of days when you’re fertile. Calendar (tracking the 28-day menstrual cycle), temperature (temperature checks), or cervical mucus (checking vaginal discharge) methods.

IRREVERSIBLE METHOD

  • Female Tubal Ligation Women can have their tubes tied or closed so sperm and eggs can’t fertilize.
  • Male Vasectomy An operation done so men can’t ejaculate sperm which can fertilize eggs.

Where do we start?

Pre-Pregnancy Counsellng10

Starting a family can be daunting, especially with the number of things unknown in the beginning. This is when counseling can help the most — doctors can put your mind at ease with questions you might have about the journey you’re about to start.

Health Assessment & Treatments

After an initial consultation, you should be able to know the risks and important notes to keep in mind before conceiving. Any treatments that might come up in the assessment shall be addressed at this stage, too.

Nutritional & Lifestyle Adjustments

Mom needs to be as healthy as she can be, so the baby can absorb enough nutritional requirements growing up. Lifestyle tweaks like giving up certain habits, foods, and activities, should be made at this stage. Mom should complete her immunization shots for a completely healthy pregnancy.

Updated Prenatal Checkups
Schedule an appointment as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed and be consistent with prenatal care checkups since these are crucial to monitoring both mom and baby’s health until childbirth.

EASTWEST HEALTHCARE’s network of healthcare providers can help secure a healthy horizon for you and your family. With more than 20 years of experience, we’ve remained committed to removing barriers to access healthcare for all to drive better health outcomes.

REFERENCES

1 What is family planning?: Department of Health Website. What is family planning? | Department of Health website. (n.d.). Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://doh.gov.ph/faqs/What-is-family-planning

2 – 3 Addressing misconceptions about family planning in the Philippines to drive change. PRB. (n.d.). Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.prb.org/resources/addressing-misconceptions-about-family-planning-in-the-philippines-to-drive-change/

4      You are being redirected… (n.d.). Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.themedicalcity.com/news/family-planning-basic-human-right

5 – 6 & 9 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, January 13). Contraception. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm

7 – 8 Santelices, S. S. S. (2019, September 26). What contraceptives are available in the Philippines? Preen.ph. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://preen.ph/101062/what-contraceptives-are-available-in-the-philippines#:~:text=Cervical%20caps&text=The%20cervical%20cap%20is%20effective,cap%20is%20not%20inserted%20properly.

10 11, F., Authored by: AdventHealth, & AdventHealth. (n.d.). Where to start with family planning. AdventHealth. Retrieved August 9, 2022, from https://www.adventhealth.com/blog/where-start-family-planning