Family planning services offered by your general practitioner are designed to assist you in all matters related to your sexual health. Perhaps most importantly the role of family planning is to make you aware of the choices you have to protect yourself against pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and sexual functioning. Today we’ll take a look at answers to “what is family planning” and what your chances are.
General practitioners offer sexual and reproductive health services that are designed to
- Give you guidance on contraceptives
- Assist you with pregnancy planning
- Provide education on and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases
- Guide you through menstruation and menopause
- Provide support on matters related to sexual function
- Assist with screening tests
Ultimately the purpose of family planning services is to inform and educate the public about the choices they have related to reproductive and sexual health. Any questions or concerns you may have should be raised with your GP.
What Is Family Planning And Contraception?
Fortunately, we live in an age where men and women both have the power to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Choosing the best contraception for your needs is a highly personal choice that will depend on your preferences and life circumstances.
When discussing contraception and family planning options with your general practitioner, you should give consideration to
- How effective the method is at preventing pregnancy. Remember that no method is 100% effective.
- Any side effects that may arise as a result of the contraceptive you have chosen
- How easy it is to use
- How costly it is
- Whether it can be reversed
- Whether it provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases
Types Of Contraception
The IUD or intrauterine device is embedded in a woman’s uterus, which releases pregnancy preventing hormones over a five year period. The hormonal IUD is 99.8% effective but it may reduce or stop your periods while you are using it.
Contraceptive implants are embedded in the upper arm, where they release progesterone slowly over a three year period.
The implant is 99.9% effective and may also stop or drastically reduce menstrual flow as it prevents ovulation from taking place.
The contraceptive injection is administered every 12 weeks and is considered to be 94 – 99% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy. It may stop your periods, and you may experience a period of infertility after you stop having it.
The Oral Contraceptive Pill
The Pill is an oral contraceptive that should be taken at the same time every day. In order to stay effective at preventing pregnancy, you must be consistent in taking it.
Male And Female Condoms
Male and female condoms are the only method of contraceptive that can prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexual diseases. The male condom is 82 -98% effective and special care must be taken when using it if no other method is combined.
The female condom is 79 – 95% effective and can be inserted into the vaginal opening before sex. Two rings, one at either end, keep it in place during intercourse.
The female diaphragm is also inserted into the vagina before sex as a barrier to prevent pregnancy. It is 88 – 94% effective.
Emergency Contraception Pill
The emergency contraceptive pill can be taken up to five days after having unprotected sex but it is most effective if it is taken in the first 24 hours. If it is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex it is effective 85% of the time.
Termination Of Pregnancy
Sometimes contraceptive and family planning methods fail and patients need to terminate a pregnancy. This is your right and a choice you are entitled to make in your best interests. Your general practitioner may advise you on how to have a safe abortion.
Family Planning And Male And Female Sterilisation
If you have decided that your family is complete and you have no desire for more children, sterilisation is an option for both men and women. Both sterilisation methods are 99.5% effective at protecting you against unwanted pregnancy.
For female sterilisation, the entrance to the Fallopian tubes is blocked in an operation, to prevent the release of the egg every month. It requires a general anaesthetic to complete.
For male sterilisation, an operation is performed on the vas deferens to keep sperm out of the ejaculate fluid. It only requires light sedation and can be done under local anaesthetic.
Before going ahead with sterilisation, your GP will assess you to ensure that this is the best long term choice for you and your family.
Discussing Family Planning With Your General Practitioner
Having a healthy sexual relationship is an important part of human existence and being able to discuss methods to keep you safe from pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is an important part of your relationship with your partner. The contraceptive methods you choose need to suit both of you, as well as your long term plans for a family.
If you need to know more about what is family planning and how it can work for you, it’s time to get in touch. Please contact us: (02) 9884 9300.