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Family planning is a practice of organizing and planning of when, where and how to have children and how many of them and it includes various birth control methods and other techniques that will implement that plan. Family planning also involves taking care of the health, having regular screening for diseases and fertility, as well as managing infertility in couples who face that problem.

The two main approaches in family planning are natural family planning and the use of various birth control devices and medications.

Natural family planning

Natural family planning approach is mainly implemented by certified nurses-midwives with their holistic care of women’s health, sexual activity, pregnancy and delivery.

The basic approach involves fertility awareness-based methods, which may seem difficult to learn but the nurses-midwives are there to help with individual or group classes for women who choose this approach. These methods allow the women to manage their fertility without hormones but also without the cumbersome daily monitoring and charting that was characteristic of older natural methods.

The two new methods are Standard Days Method and Two Day Method, which are 95 to 98% efficient. The first one uses a simple visual tool called Cycle Beads, which is made of color-coded beads that help a woman keep track of her menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertile or infertile days. The Two Day Method focuses on cervical mucus but it does not require any complicated analyses.

Birth control choices

Family planning today is made very easy with a wide selection of methods that are available to everyone. The most widely used method of birth control is the condom, which also provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

The second most popular method are birth control pills. They are available upon prescription, usually after pelvic exam, blood tests and some other analyses. There are several kids of birth control pills and most of them are very reliable and easy to use.

Birth control patches are also available and they are becoming increasingly popular. The morning-after pill or emergency contraception is not the most recommended method, especially if used frequently, but it is definitely very reliable.

There are also devices that are supposed to be applied inside the vagina, like sponges, diaphragm and vaginal rings.

Depo-Provera shots contain estrogen and they are supposed to be administered every three months.

Each of these methods have its advantages and downsides compared to the others. The best thing to do is to try out several of them, not at the same time, of course, and to find the one that meets the specific individual needs and causes the least discomfort or side effects.

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