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.


Post Author: Dr Ademola Orolu

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 Medical Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nathaniel Health Consulting (a family hospital), Matogun, Ogun State. He is the editor-in-chief of The Family Doctors. He can be contacted via



    (July 23, 2017 - 7:30 pm)

    so what are you advising , and what is the best family planning method available?

      Ademola Orolu

      (July 23, 2017 - 7:55 pm)

      Hi Daniel,
      A few things are considered when choosing a contraceptive.

      1. A woman who has a history of heavy, or painful menses, or both may/may not have these issues worsen with intrauterine contraceptive device, IUCD (‘coil’). Likewise, history of pelvic inflammatory disease may be recurrent with IUCD, being a foreign body inside the womb. So, with this background, IUCD may not be recommended. However, IUCD has long lasting effect of 8-10years. It doesn’t disturb the ovulation, therefore, upon discontinuation, the woman can get pregnant if the male partner is fertile.

      2. Hormonal contraceptives (pills, injection,and implant) may increase your appetite. With increased food intake, weight gain may occur. These hormonal contraceptives may/may not cause headache, mood swings, nausea.

      3. Condom has to be available regularly if this is a choice. It may take away the spontaneity of intercourse. Some may have latex allergy.

      In summary, what is good for you may not be for someone else. The above possible side effects may or may not be experienced by the users. If one method is not tolerable, another could.


    (July 23, 2017 - 7:31 pm)

    Thank you for the post


    (September 1, 2017 - 10:25 am)

    So someone like me that is a plus size and is planning to have another child in like 3years time,what is the best type of contraceptive I can use,abstanance is obviously a no no for me and I don’t think condom is also a good idea.

      Ademola Orolu

      (September 1, 2017 - 10:42 am)

      Intrauterine contraceptive device (copper T) will not affect your weight since it is not hormone based. It might be okay for you. Some women may have abdominal cramps and heavy bleeding though. To avoid reproductive tract infection, faithfulness to one partner is advised.


    (September 1, 2017 - 10:51 am)

    Thank you Sir, Will work on it….


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    (August 28, 2018 - 10:29 am)

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