Refer to it as birth control, or family planning (typically among married partners), contraception has been practised since the existence of man.
Unlike death which we may not be able to control, giving birth is largely a voluntary choice. When desired family size has been reached, a pregnant woman may be forced to resort to termination of pregnancy. If contraception is well practised, debate over pregnancy termination would not be an issue. So why does family planning fail? Below are 5 common reasons.
Unconfirmed Fears of Contraception:
A few women fear the unknown when birth control is discussed. Some fear the possibility of harm following introduction of contraceptives into their bodies. Some fear the side effects. Common fear is weight gain. While still in doubt of need for ideal methods of birth control, unwanted pregnancy occurs.
Doubt About Effectiveness of Contraception:
Abstinence is the method of birth control that is 100% effective. With perfect use, other methods have a very minimal chance of failure. This infrequent chance of failure discourages some from making a choice. They would rather try their luck without conventional contraception. Unwanted pregnancy is likely.
Concern About Becoming Permanently Infertile:
Some birth control methods that are hormone based (pills, injectables, implants) prevent a lady from ovulating. Upon discontinuation, some women may not ovulate for a while. The fear of this discourages use of these hormone based methods. In absence of other methods of birth control, some women get pregnant unprepared.
Failure to Stick to Recommended Timing:
Forgetfulness, ignorance, and desire to change choice of birth control make some individuals not to keep up with the appropriate time of next dose of contraceptive. This lag time may cause the couple to have unwanted pregnancy.
Indecision about preferred family size:
Among some couples, the partners are undecided about the preferred family size. This discourages early consideration of contraception. An unwanted pregnancy is a usual outcome for the undecided partner.
Proper consultation and counseling from health personnel help address issues and fears associated with contraception. During these visits, family and personal histories of health conditions are obtained. Physical examination is done also to help the client make informed choice of a birth control method.
In many situations, it’s not likely to tell who would or who would not have side effects documented with use of a particular method of contraception. If the body doesn’t tolerate a contraceptive method, there are other options which can be tolerable.
Dr Ademola Orolu is a Consultant Family Physician. He holds the Fellowship of The West African College of Physicians. He is also an Associate Fellow of The National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria. He is in active clinical practice. He is a writer, a patient advocate, and has a passion for health education. He is the chief editor of The Family Doctors. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org