In the modern day where resources like land are barely enough and the cost of raising children is very high, regulating the number of children you have, and the intervals between them is very important.
Family planning is the most crucial option at your disposal as a woman of childbearing age, as in most scenarios, it’s women who suffer the consequences of unintended pregnancies; that’s why we have more single mothers than single fathers in this country.
In addition to giving you some control over your parenting experience, family planning also increases your chances of giving your children the high-quality life that they deserve.
Thanks to the advancement of science, medicine, and technology, the modern woman is lucky as there are a variety of family planning methods, both natural and artificial, that are readily available and at affordable prices.
Here are some of the common family planning options available in Kenya. Before deciding which method to use, consult with your doctor to determine what is best for you.
Hormonal contraceptives are methods of birth control that use oestrogen and progesterone hormones or progesterone hormone alone to prevent pregnancy.
They work by altering the hormonal levels in a woman's body to prevent ovulation, thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and thinning the uterine lining to prevent implantation.
Hormonal contraceptives can be delivered in the form of daily pills or Depo Provera injections which are administered every three months.
Other hormonal contraceptives include contraceptive patches, implants, and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Non Hormonal Contraceptives
Non-hormonal contraceptives are barriers that can be used to prevent fertilisation by preventing the sperm from entering the vagina. The commonly available non-hormonal contraceptives are condoms and copper IUDs.
Male And Female Condoms
Condoms are among the most widely used contraceptives. Part of the reason for their popularity is that they are readily available in most pharmacies, stores, and supermarkets, and they are quite affordable, in fact, some public restrooms provide them for free.
In addition to their use as a birth control method, the use of condoms can also help to prevent the spread of STIs.
The copper IUD (coil) is another non-hormonal contraceptive that is also quite effective in family planning. It is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that's inserted in the uterus and helps to prevent pregnancy by blocking the sperm from meeting an egg.
Besides being a long-term family planning method, preventing pregnancies for between 5-10 years, the copper IUD is also an emergency contraception that is effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies if fitted within five days of having unprotected sex.
Read Also: Has Your Contraceptive Ever Backfired?
Sterilisation is a permanent method of family planning and includes procedures such as tubal ligation or tube tying (for women) and vasectomy (for men).
You should only use this method if you are certain that you do not want to have any more children, as it is often difficult to reverse.
Natural Family Planning (NFP) Or Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)
This family planning method involves tracking the menstrual cycle and observing other physiological signs like body temperature and cervical mucus secretions to determine a woman’s fertility window, and avoiding intercourse during that time.
The common traditional way of natural family planning involves religiously taking and recording a woman's body temperature every morning before getting out of bed to identify the postovulatory increase in temperature, then avoiding sex from the start of menstruation until three days after seeing the temperature rise.
Thanks to technology, we now have smartphone apps like My Calendar-Period Tracker and Clue Period & Cycle Tracker that help women to track their menstrual cycle and fertility window. The apps can help you predict your safe days based on the average numbers of your previous data.
Withdrawal Method (Pulling Out)
The withdrawal method is another natural form of birth control that involves withdrawing the penis before ejaculation to prevent semen from entering the vagina.
It’s not the safest method of birth control as people usually get carried away while in action.