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In this handout, we are going to look at all family planning options categorized into the following 8 sections.
Note: I do not use brand names in this handout. There are different brands of all the contraceptive products mentioned. I do not endorse any brand.
SURGICAL PROCEDURES (all permanent)
Surgical procedures are for sterilization. Reversal can be done with some methods, but may not be successful. Sterilization is a good method for couples or individuals who are positive they are done having children.
LONG TERM, BUT NOT PERMANENT
HORMONAL METHODS, SHORT TERM OR LONG TERM
These are hormonal methods that you can use month to month and stop easily if you want to. You can also use these options for years.
METHODS THAT ARE NON-HORMONAL AND NON-BARRIER
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
Natural Family Planning methods are unique because they can be used to avoid pregnancy or try to conceive. If you are using NFP to avoid pregnancy, you will monitor for ovulation and then choose to abstain from sex during your fertile days. There are no devices or hormones or barriers. For couples that have a religious objection to contraception, natural family planning is often not considered to be in violation of that belief because it’s not actually a contraceptive.
LACTATIONAL AMENORRHEA METHOD
Breastfeeding exclusively and on demand provides natural pregnancy prevention for the first 6 months after birth. This is 98% effective.
Sterilizations are highly effective. There is no need to combine any other method with that. You can combine any hormonal method or IUD with any barrier device. For example: She can be on the pill and he can use a condom. Another option is to combine natural methods with barrier devices. You can use natural family planning to monitor ovulation and use condoms or withdrawal on your fertile days.
OPTION TO NOT USE ANY PREGNANCY PREVENTION
There is also the option to choose not to use any method of pregnancy prevention. For people who are religious, it’s 100% fine to leave the timing and number of children up to God. Some people have religious convictions against contraception. Others feel that no one can be born who isn’t meant to exist. You can leave things up to what is meant to be. Or you can use any of the methods mentioned above. Choose the family planning options that are right for you in this season of your life.
Important Note: All sterilizations, IUDs, and hormonal methods come with potentially serious health risks. Be informed on potential side effects and risk factors before beginning any method. Talk to your gynecologist about any risk factors you may have and which options are good for your individual health.