United Nations Population Fund says that “contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions and lower the incidence of death and disability related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.”
A family is obviously the smallest institution that constitutes the bedrock of a nation anywhere in the world. A peaceful nation therefore is ostensibly a true reflection of a stable, healthy and resourceful family. To make and achieve the afore said features, a well structured procreation system must be put in place and this is readily achievable by embracing the family planning programme designed to enable everyone of childbearing age to effectively plan and space their children.
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In order words, it won’t be out of place to define family planning as a process of educational, comprehensive medical activity which enable individuals including minors to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved. This may involve consideration of the number of children a woman wishes to have, including the choice to have no children, as well as the age at which she wishes to have them.
The aforementioned are usually informed by external factors such as marital situation, career considerations, financial position, any disabilities that may affect their ability to have children and raise them, besides many other considerations. According to the United Nations and the World Health Organization, family planning encompasses services leading up to conception and does not promote abortion as a family planning method. Although levels of contraceptive use reduces the need for it.
Family Planning is sometimes used as a synonym for access to and the use of contraception, methods and practices capable of achieving seeming control over childbearing are involved. The reasons for these is not far-fetched as many people who might wish to use contraception but are not, necessarily planning a family (e.g unmarried adolescents,young married couples delay childbearing while building a career).
However, the essence of planning a healthy and sustainable family tends to place a woman and her childbearing decisions at the center of discussion, as notions of women’s empowerment and reproductive autonomy have gained attraction in many parts of the world. In 2006,the US Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) issued a recommendation,encouraging men and women to formulate a reproductive life plan, to help them in avoiding unintended pregnancies and improve the health of women and reduce complicated pregnancy outcomes.
It is worthy to say that raising a child requires significant amounts of resources, time as well as proper environmental considerations. Planning can help to ensure that resources available are properly harnessed to achieve an intended result. Therefore the purpose of family planning is to make sure that any couple, who has a child has the resources that are needed in order to complete this goal. With these resources, the couple can explore the options of natural birth, surrogacy, artificial insemination or adoption. In another case, if a person does not wish to have a child at the specific time, he/she can investigate the resources that are needed to prevent pregnancy such as birth control contraceptives and physical preventions. A review of the economic literature on”life satisfaction “ shows that certain groups of people are much happier without children. These include single parents,the divorced as well as the poor to say the least.
Meanwhile it is pertinent to say that about 99% of maternal deaths occur in less developed countries, less than one-half occur in sub-Saharan Africa and almost one-third in South Asia. Available records show that both early and late motherhood have increased risks. Young teenagers face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy. The ideal thing is to wait until the mother is at least 18 years old before trying to have children.
However, if additional children are desired after a child is born, it is healthier for the mother and the child to wait at least 2 years after the previous birth before attempting to conceive. When planning a family, women should be aware that reproductive risks increase with the age of the woman.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that “contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions and lower the incidence of death and disability related to complications of pregnancy and childbirth.” UNFPA states that “if all women with an unmet need for contraceptives were able to use modern methods like the use of pills, injectable, implants, Calendar-based methods, condoms as well as Intra-Uterine Device(IUD),their aim for a healthy, properly planned family life would have safely been achieved.
At this juncture it becomes important to examine the benefits family planning has on the society at large. For mothers, it allows her to rest between pregnancies in order to regain her health and strength therefore reducing the risk of complications during or after pregnancy. It also makes her to have time to develop herself and contribute financially to her family. Allow her to give more attention to her husband and love him more. A mother will have less anxiety and stress. By delaying the next pregnancy, she is able to spend quality time with each child. She will also be able to breastfeed for a longer period, thus providing her baby with nutritious food and protection from diseases.
Similarly,for the father, he is enabled to fulfill his role by giving guidance and support to his family. He will also have quality times for his wife, which usually promotes a closer relationship between them. Putting all of these together clearly implies that the father would obviously have less anxiety and stress to manage. On the account of the need and importance of family planning to a nation’s socio-economic growth, it will be instructive for all stakeholders to ensure more public enlightenment and mobilization in order to ensure that the virtue of family planning is clearly understood and subsequently embraced by all.
Our religious leaders, traditional rulers, and other opinion leaders must get actively involved in this crusade. In the end, the living standard as well as the socio-economic development of any nation would have been achieved with a healthy and happy family.
Ogunbanwo writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State