What is Family Planning?
Family planning allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility. A woman’s ability to space and limit her pregnancies has a direct impact on her health and well-being as well as on the outcome of each pregnancy.
What are the benefits of family planning?
Promotion of family planning – and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples – is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
Preventing pregnancy-related health risks in women
A woman’s ability to choose if and when to become pregnant has a direct impact on her health and well-being. Family planning allows spacing of pregnancies and can delay pregnancies in young women at increased risk of health problems and death from early childbearing, and can prevent pregnancies among older women who also face increased risks. Family planning enables women who wish to limit the size of their families to do so. Evidence suggests that women who have more than four children are at increased risk of maternal mortality.
By reducing rates of unintended pregnancies, family planning also reduces the need for unsafe abortion.
Reducing infant mortality
Family planning can prevent closely spaced and ill-timed pregnancies and births, which contribute to some of the world’s highest infant mortality rates. Infants of mothers who die as a result of giving birth also have a greater risk of death and poor health.
Empowering people and enhancing education
Family planning enables people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Family planning represents an opportunity for women for enhanced education and participation in public life, including paid employment in non-family organizations. Additionally, having smaller families allows parents to invest more in each child. Children with fewer siblings tend to stay in school longer than those with many siblings.