|Where Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)|
|Chapter 13: Family Planning|
¨ In poor countries about half of all deaths in women of child-bearing age are caused by problems of pregnancy and childbirth. Family planning prevents these pregnancies and deaths.
Every year, half a million women die of problems from pregnancy, childbirth, and unsafe abortion. Most of these deaths could be prevented by family planning. For example, family planning can prevent dangers from pregnancies that are:
· too soon. Women under the age of 17 are more likely to die in childbirth because their bodies are not fully grown. Their babies have a greater chance of dying in the first year.
· too late. Older women face more danger in child bearing, especially if they have other health problems or have had many children.
· too close. A womans body needs time to recover between pregnancies.
· too many. A woman with more than 4 children has a greater risk of death after childbirth from bleeding and other causes.
As well as saving lives, family planning has other benefits
Mothers and babies will be healthier, because risky pregnancies are avoided.
Fewer children means more food for each child.
Waiting to have children can allow young women and men time to complete their education.
Fewer children can mean more time for yourselves and your children.
Family planning can also help you and your partner enjoy sex more, because you are not afraid of unwanted pregnancy. And some methods have other health benefits. For example, condoms and spermicides can help protect against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDs. Hormonal methods can help with irregular bleeding and pain during a womans monthly bleeding.