Family Planning, And Other Questions You Are Too Embarrassed To Ask

When can you resume intimacy after childbirth? Why is planned parenthood important? Find out here.

If you ever thought it difficult to ask the more intimate questions about conception and planned motherhood, you’re not alone. About 37% of women worldwide are unaware of, or haven’t used, a contraceptive method.[1] Many women resort to the Natural Family Planning method or NFP, where they track their ovulation cycles or use an ovulation calculator. But this can be tricky, particularly when you have just given birth.

We deal with some common questions about family planning in this article.

Why is it important to talk about Family Planning?

Family planning a.k.a birth control is the practice of controlling the number of children in a family and the intervals between their births, particularly by means of a contraceptive method. In India, “family planning” is the street term for contraception or birth control.

All too often, the onus of planned parenthood falls upon the woman, and is fraught with questions: How many children should I have? Should I even have children? What is the right age to have children? When should I get pregnant again? How do I prevent an unwanted pregnancy?

Marital and financial stability, career goals — all have a bearing on these decisions.

Based on each individual case, a doctor at a family planning clinic can suggest the right method for planning your first pregnancy as well as spacing your subsequent children. You need options that are the best fit for your particular needs and lifestyle. If you had a complicated pregnancy, you may be asked to wait for a longer period.

Access to family planning and advice on birth control can reduce maternal mortality by about 33% [2]

I just had a baby. When can I be intimate with my partner again?

A question that all healthcare providers must answer as part of the pre-discharge counseling! You may be too shy to initiate the conversation, so the onus is on the doctors and nurses to speak to you about it. Ideally, your partner should be made a part of the sex-after-baby conversation.

While it could swivel on your state of mind, doctors recommend waiting for four to six weeks after childbirth to allow for the cervix to close and any tears and lacerations to heal.[3] Similarly, sex after a C-section will depend on how well your wound is healing. This can be brought up during follow-up visits.

What are the contraceptive options available to me?

Breastfeeding as a birth control method is not fool-proof and tracking signs of ovulation can be tricky, till your period returns [4]. If you are breastfeeding an older infant, or have inserted formula feeds, you can still get pregnant.

Temporary contraceptives: Pills, IUDs and condoms are readily available at pharmacies and clinics. Each method has its benefits and pitfalls. Condoms are highly recommended because they can also help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Surgical contraception:

Surgeries such as vasectomies for men and tubectomies for women are best done in a hospital under the care of a qualified surgeon. Do remember that these processes cannot always be reversed.

If circumstances call for a surgical abortion, or the use of an abortion pill, the doctor is the best person to decide.

What is the recommended gap between children?

In general, a birth interval of two years or more between children is recommended. It gives a woman time to bring up the older infant, it gives her body time to replace essential nutrients and it helps her take better care of all her children even while pregnant.

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  1. Family Planning Worldwide 2013 Data Sheet, Population Reference Bureau.
  2. Mother-Baby Package: Implementing Safe Motherhood In countries, World Health Organization
  3. Labour and Delivery, Postpartum care, Mayoclinic.
  4. Planned Parenthood: Breastfeeding


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