Family Planning: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Do you feel like you don’t have any control over the future of your family?

Are you worried about having a child before you’re ready?

If so, consider exploring family planning as a way to gain more confidence about having children or actively preventing the expansion of your family.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), family planning is “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.”

Given that 1.1 million women across the world needed family planning in 2023, it’s clear that knowing your options is an essential part of healthcare. Taking control over your body is also more important now than ever.

At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you at this point in your life. Things may change in the future, making family planning a necessary part of healthcare. It’s flexible and can adapt to wherever you are, whenever you want it to.

In this blog, you’ll learn about what family planning is, why it matters, the benefits of incorporating it into your life plan, and how to get started.

How to Get Started With Family Planning

If you’re preparing to have children or planning to avoid expanding your family, you know how overwhelming it can be. Getting support is always a good idea, even if you aren’t feeling the pressure. But why?

Remember the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child?” That’s why. You need people in your corner to help you through life experiences you haven’t had. Whether that’s a family member who provides advice on why they decided not to have kids or a few conversations with your grandparents about what they learned from starting a family when they were young, the more information you have, the better.

However, the first step you should take is having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your goals and aspirations. Consider your age, health, finances, and personal values when deciding when and how many children you want — or if you want children. You don’t have to nail down all the details at once, but having the conversation early on in a committed relationship is a vital part of planning for your future.

Who is Family Planning For?

Although family planning is used synonymously with birth control, it’s more than that. It encompasses a range of reproductive health education and prevention efforts, including fertility awareness, pregnancy planning, and prioritizing your overall wellness as you make decisions about your reproductive health.

Family planning for people who want to have children is focused on achieving a healthy pregnancy, spacing pregnancies appropriately, and preparing for the responsibilities of parenthood.

To make this happen, couples can try to enhance their fertility by making lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking. They can also use fertility apps to track ovulation, consider taking prenatal vitamins, and schedule prenatal counseling to discuss any medical concerns or genetic risks.

On the other hand, family planning for those individuals or couples who want to remain child free is all about avoiding pregnancy and maintaining control over their reproductive health. To do this, you can use more effective birth control methods like IUDs or implants, or even consider something more permanent like sterilization — including a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

You can also use fertility awareness methods like tracking your basal body temperature to understand their menstrual cycles and avoid unintended pregnancy. For instance, if you want to remain child free, you might opt for an IUD to prevent pregnancy for up to five years while also using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Why Family Planning Matters

Now that you know some of your options, let’s talk about why family planning matters. Aside from allowing you to plan your life and future, here are a few reasons:

Find a Family Planning Professional Near You

Finding a family planning professional who understands your unique needs and goals can be a daunting task. You want someone who is knowledgeable, supportive, and non-judgmental. You want someone who will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and help you make informed decisions about your reproductive health.

That’s where the professionals at Balance Psychiatric Services come in. The psychiatric and family nurse practitioners on our team specialize in family planning, working with individuals and families of all kinds to provide personalized care and support.

Whether you’re trying to conceive, seeking contraception, or simply wanting to maintain good reproductive health, we’re here to help. Our experts will work with you to develop a personalized plan that aligns with your values and family and future goals.

We believe that family planning is a journey, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Schedule a consultation with one of our practitioners to start your journey today.