Family Planning Unveiled: Empowering Families to Make Informed Decisions on Contraception


Family planning consists of various methods that enable families to decide when to have children, the number of children, and the gap between pregnancies. However, family planning is insufficient to be seen as a mere subset of birth control methods to prevent pregnancy. When discussing family planning, it is critical to see it as a process of weighing options and risks, finding out which methods best satisfy your circumstances and reproductive intentions. 

Numerous types of contraceptives are available with their own effectiveness, practicality, and potential side effects. Therefore, choosing the best contraceptive method for you is a complicated decision. 

Given that a contraceptive method is a complicated decision, open communication involving relevant family members regarding contraceptive choices is paramount. Open communication enables families to make informed decisions on contraception. It provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing and exchanges of concerns and preferences that ultimately can lead families to achieve better reproductive health outcomes and overall well-being.

From this article, you will understand the types of contraceptive methods and factors influencing contraceptive choices that could help you make informed decisions on the best contraceptive method for you and your family. 

Types of contraceptive methods 

There is a wide variety of contraceptive methods available. Below are examples of contraceptive methods that might work best for you: 

Birth control pills

Birth control pills are a form of family planning method that uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. Containing a fuse of progesterone and estrogen hormones, birth control pills prevent ovulation. For the pills to work effectively, you have to take the pill once per day. Lighter periods, sore or swollen breasts, and a mild headache are the common side effects of birth control pills. 

Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

An IUD is another type of birth control used by placing the contraception inside your womb. There are two types of IUDs, they are the hormonal and the copper IUD.

Hormonal IUD

The hormonal IUD releases a progesterone hormone called “levonorgestrel” which prevents ovulation and makes it harder for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg. The side effects of hormonal IUD may include headaches or migraines, pelvic pain, and heavier periods. 

Copper IUD

Another type of IUD is the copper IUD, a T-shaped device that does not release hormones and is fitted in the womb. The copper IUD works by preventing sperm from surviving in the womb. Your periods may be longer and heavier with a copper IUD. 


Implants are another type of birth control inserted under the skin, particularly on the inside of your arm. Implants release a hormone called “etonogestrel.” Etonogestrel is a progesterone hormone that can prevent pregnancy. After having the implant, you may experience soreness or bruising in your arm, followed by changes in your periods, such as lighter or longer-lasting periods. 

Vaginal ring

Vaginal ring is another hormonal birth control. It is a small plastic ring worn inside the vagina. The ring releases hormones that can stop ovulation and thicken cervical mucus, preventing sperm from entering the uterus.

A vaginal ring can be worn for 3 weeks, then removed for one week to allow bleeding. Most people have mild side effects from using a vaginal ring, such as breast tenderness, weight gain, nausea, and vomiting. 


Vasectomy is a form of male birth control involving a surgical procedure to cut or seal tubes that carry sperm from a man’s testicles to the penis. Vasectomy is an effective and permanent way to prevent pregnancy and can rarely be reversed. Given its permanency, vasectomy might be the right contraceptive method for families who do not want to risk pregnancy in the future. 


Condoms act as a physical barrier that prevents sperm and other body fluids (such as semen or blood) from entering the vagina, mouth, or anus. Hence, other than reducing the risk of pregnancy, a condom is also an effective method for couples to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if used correctly during intercourse. 

From the various types of contraception mentioned above, it is evident that each contraceptive method has its own unique characteristics. Choosing the right contraception requires careful planning by weighing the risks and benefits that align with your needs and preferences. 

Factors influencing contraceptive decisions

Each individual and family may put different levels of importance on each factor that shapes contraceptive decisions. By understanding and identifying factors that may influence contraceptive decisions, you and your family can tailor your decisions based on credible information that aligns with your circumstances and reproductive goals. Below are factors you may consider when choosing a contraceptive method that is right for you:

Health and side effects considerations 

Every contraceptive method may have its own health risks. For example, oral contraceptives, such as birth control pills, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. On the other hand, oral contraceptives can also reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer and protect against pelvic inflammatory diseases. Another example is that IUDs that can serve as an effective contraceptive method are found to increase the risk of potential infection in certain high-risk groups. 

Regarding side effects, hormonal contraceptives can cause headaches, nausea, sore breasts, spotting between periods, and mood swings. Meanwhile, non-hormonal contraception can lead to irritation and allergies associated with devices in the vaginal canal. 

You can consider your tolerance levels for possible side effects and health risks by consulting with your doctor. The doctor may give you an opinion on how your choice of birth control might affect your health and thus advise you on the methods based on your medical history.  

Effectiveness in preventing pregnancies

The effectiveness of contraception depends on the type of contraception and whether or not you use it correctly. However, no contraceptive method is 100% effective for everyone because each contraceptive method aligns differently with everyone’s needs and can also affect individuals differently. 

For example, birth control pills are a type of contraception that can be 99% effective only if you take the pills every day. You must integrate this method into your daily routine and take it consistently. Forgetting or delaying taking the pills can reduce the effectiveness to 93%. 

Convenience and ease of use 

You can also choose contraceptive methods for convenience and ease of use. Long-acting reversible contraception, such as IUDs and implants, can be a good choice if you want effective and lasting birth control without much maintenance. Long-term reversible contraception can prevent pregnancy for long periods of time once in place. 

Meanwhile, short-acting contraceptive methods, such as pills and condoms, rely more on consistent and correct use to maintain effectiveness. Short-acting contraceptive methods should be used or taken regularly. 

Partner preferences and communication

As a family, you may have different goals and preferences regarding family planning with your partner. Open communication with your partner allows you to align goals and decide on a method supporting your and your partner’s shared vision. Other than leading to shared decision-making, improved communication with partners about family planning can increase the use of contraception. 

Cultural and religious beliefs 

Cultural and religious beliefs also play a pivotal role in influencing couples’ acceptance and use of contraception. For instance, cultural and religious beliefs may shape your family’s understanding of sexuality, fertility, and desired family size and thus affect the decision on contraception that best aligns with the family’s beliefs. There is also a religious prohibition on some forms of birth control that may significantly affect a family’s decisions on contraception that are perceived as religiously acceptable. 

In conclusion

Family planning is a crucial aspect of reproductive health for individuals and families to achieve their desired number of children and spacing between pregnancies. Choosing the right contraceptive method regarding its effectiveness, potential health risks, and partner preferences should be carefully considered. These factors should be considered when deciding on contraceptive methods that best suit your circumstances and reproductive goals. 

Understanding the variety of contraceptive options available and factors that may shape contraceptive decisions may help you and your family make decisions that are well-informed, empowering you to prioritize your reproductive intentions and overall health. Families can surely take control of their family planning journey while maintaining harmonious relationships if they attain adequate knowledge, cultivate positive communication, and thoughtful consideration when choosing a contraceptive method that works best for them.

If you would like to see more resources on contraception, check out the Family Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Family Science Labs today.

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