4 Reasons every Couple Must Adopt Family Planning

By Dr. Okechukwu Amako, MBBS (Ibadan)
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What is the ideal number of children a couple should have? Some people recommend 3 or 4 children. Well, any number beyond 5 children puts the woman into a very high-risk state for every subsequent pregnancy.

Moreover, it is not enough to have less than 5 children; it is equally important couples adequately space the interval between one pregnancy and the other.

Every man and woman out there should have family planning in mind before getting into marriage. And married couples should constantly discuss about the family planning methods they are using--the ups and downs (like side effects such as weight gain, heavy or scanty bleeding in the wife due to the use of hormonal pills), the need to visit their doctors for possible switching to another method.

Family planning is far much more than just using condoms or pills; it is an important component of raising a healthy family. Below are 4 reasons it is important for every couple:

1. Spacing of childbirth

Once a woman gives birth to a baby, one of the things she is counseled on is family planning before being discharged from the hospital and subsequently during her postnatal clinic visit. Adopting a family planning method of choice after birth by a couple enables the couple to be in control of when next to have a baby, while comfortably raising the one they have.

Child spacing also allows the woman's body time to fully recover from the last pregnancy, enables her to return to her work in one healthy piece, and ensure she raises a healthy baby.

It is recommended that couples allow between 2 and 3 years before having another baby.

2. Prevents Unwanted Pregnancy

Because of the ability of couples to decide when to have another baby, even while having regular sex, due to the appropriate adoption of family planning, the chances of unwanted pregnancy is almost or completely eliminated. This also takes away the temptation to contemplate doing an elective abortion of an unwanted pregnancy faced by couples who are not using any family planning methods, especially in countries where elective abortion (voluntary termination of a pregnancy despite no life-threatening indication in the mother or child) is a criminal offence.

3. Reduces the incidence of pregnancy-related deaths in the woman

For couples who are not using any family planning methods, unwanted pregnancy in this part of the world can make them resort to quacks where the woman undergoes an unsafe abortion which could lead to her death in the process or infertility in her if she survives the abortion.

In addition, a woman giving birth to more than five children, increases her risk of developing any of the pregnancy-related conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and convulsions, bleeding during pregnancy or within six weeks of childbirth, and she could die from any of these conditions or develop one disease or the other subsequently.

4. Improves the living standard of the family and the society at large

When a couple can determine the number of children they can have through adequate family planning despite having regular sex, they are able to restrict the number to what they can comfortably take care of within their financial capacity. This means that a couple can comfortably raise 3 or 4 kids, giving them the very best within their means. These children will grow up into completely healthy individuals and subsequently the society will be made up of healthy people with good living standards.

Adopting the appropriate family planning methods requires the involvement of both the man and his wife. The woman should not be left alone to seek family planning. There are different types of family planning methods and most have a few side effects; couples should regularly discuss any side effects noticed with each other and with their doctors for a possible change to another method. Getting involved in family planning this way will improve the psychological, physical and social well-being of the couple.

Couples who are yet to take up any family planning methods should visit any good clinic or hospital near them for counselling and adoption of any method of choice.

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Published Thursday, March 16th 2017

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