What is Artificial Family Planning?

Artificial family planning is the process used to prevent pregnancy and plan for the birth of children at the most optimum time. Commonly referred to as birth control, family planning can be accomplished using a variety of methods. Before you choose a method, there are a number of factors you should consider.

History

  • The first recorded attempt at artificial family planning occurred about 200 A.D. in Greece, when Soranus discovered that women were fertile during ovulation. Unfortunately, Soranus mistakenly believed that ovulation occurred during menstruation, so it is questionable how much his advice helped anyone prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Soranus suggested women try jumping backward seven times after intercourse to expel sperm, drinking water that blacksmiths used to cool metals and smearing ginger, tobacco juice, olive oil or pomegranate pulp around the vagina to kill sperm.The use of condoms dates back to Egyptian times, when they were used in an attempt to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Throughout history, condoms have been made using animal intestines, linen and even tortoise shells. It was not until 1844 that the first rubber condom was produced, and in 1919 latex condoms were developed.

    In addition to condoms, birth control methods in the early 1900s included douching, diaphragms and abortion. In 1929, the intrauterine device (IUD) was developed in Germany, while birth control pills became commercially available in 1963.

Types

  • Birth control methods fall into three main categories: barrier methods, hormonal methods and sterilization. Barrier methods prevent sperm from reaching eggs. These methods include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps and sponges.Hormonal methods usually use a combination of progesterone and estrogen to prevent pregnancy by maintaining a consistent hormone level in the body. When there is no peak in estrogen, the ovary does not release an egg and conception cannot occur. Hormonal methods include birth control pills and patches, injections, the Nuva Ring and the Norplant implant. The intrauterine device (IUD) may also contain hormones, but it works by changing the lining of the uterus and fallopian tubes.

    Sterilization methods include vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women.

Features

  • In addition to preventing pregnancy, condoms also offer protection from sexually transmitted diseases. To lessen this risk, it is recommended that condoms be used even if another birth control method is used.Users of hormonal artificial family planning methods have the most flexibility. Those people who don’t want to remember to take a daily pill can opt for the once-a-month Nuva Ring, the five-year Norplant implant or the three-month Depo Provera shot.

Benefits

  • Artificial family planning lets a couple decide when they will have children. Birth control users can decide to wait until they are financially secure to begin families and can choose the spacing between children. With so many birth control choices available, men and women can easily find a method that is comfortable and safe and prevents pregnancy.

Warning

  • Hormonal birth control methods are not safe for everyone. Women over 35 who smoke shouldn’t take the pill because of the increased risk of heart attack or stroke. The pill is not recommended for women who have had blood clots, cancer, liver disease, strokes, heart attacks or unexplained vaginal bleeding.