The term “family planning” is often used as a synonym for “birth control.” Family planning, however, does not only involve contraception. Family planning also takes into account planning your child’s birth for specific times (possibly by spacing births a few years apart from one another) and planning for a child when you have challenges conceiving one.
Throughout the majority of history, women and couples had to count solely on prayer and luck for family planning. Some couples who desired children were not able to have them. Other couples have desired fewer children or pregnancies that were spaced farther apart, but had trouble accomplishing this goal. Until the 20th century, the only reliable way to prevent or space out pregnancies was abstinence. Fortunately, there are many more family planning options in modern times.
Family planning includes contraceptives, sexuality education and natural family planning techniques. Contraceptives include barrier methods like diaphragms, condoms and hormonal birth control. It can also include surgery (hysterectomies for women or vasectomies for men) or intrauterine devices (worn inside a woman’s vagina during intercourse). Sex education assists families by teaching youth how their reproductive systems function, how to use contraceptives and the truth about pregnancy and birth control. Natural family planning techniques teach women and their sexual partners how to chart fertility cycles. Couples can abstain from having sex or use a barrier protection method during fertile times to prevent pregnancies. Learning about a woman’s fertility cycles can also benefit couples who are having challenges with desired conception.