TAKE A BREAK… (EDITED REPOST)

Congratulations on the arrival of your new baby! Olóhun á dáasí. You’ve survived the first few months of sleeplessness. The postpartum bleeding has stopped. You’ve gotten your body back and Mr. Husband cannot hold it again… Now, we don’t joke about our fecundity for religious and cultural reasons but we have to create a reasonable space in-between pregnancies to allow the body to heal and rest before another baby comes.

At the family planning clinic, you will be interviewed, examined and counselled in order to determine your eligibility. You will learn that there are various methods of family planning which have different pros and cons. I’ll try to summarise some of them here.

*Periodic Abstinence. Avoiding intercourse during ovulation stage. This is somewhere in the middle of the cycle for a 28-day regular cycle. (Refer to this article on how to calculate your mid-cycle… https://wp.me/p2XhDe-aD)

Pros: natural, noninvasive.

Cons: menstrual cycle must be known and regular, high failure rate.

*Withdrawal method (coitus interruptus). Removal of the phallus prior to ejaculation.

Pros: natural, noninvasive.

Cons: unreliable, high failure rate, reduces sexual pleasure.

*Lactational amenorrhoea. When a woman breastfeeds exclusively and she has not resumed her menses, she is about 99% protected from pregnancy in the first 6 months and about 97% by 1 year. There will be need for a backup from 6 months onwards.

*Combined oral contraceptive pills: Failure rate is 0.2-0.3/100WY (ie. if 1000 women use it for a year, only 2-3 will get pregnant).

Pros: reduces menstrual pain and amount of blood loss, controls irregular menstrual cycle, reduces risk of ovarian cancer.

Cons: headache, weight gain, risk of blood clots, small increase in the risk of stroke and some cancers. Unsuitable for some obese women, smokers, breastfeeding moms (in the first 6 weeks).

*Progesterone-only pills (POP). Failure rate is 0.3-4/100WY.

Pros: Useful during the early weeks of breastfeeding.

Cons: irregular or total cessation of menses, headaches, mood swings, bloating.

*Injectable contraceptives. Failure rate is <1/100WY.

Pros: highly effective, more convenient/better compliance than pills.

Cons: irregular menses, delay in conception after stopping , bone loss.

*Contraceptive implants. These are tiny hormone-containing devices, about the size of a match stick, which are inserted into the inner aspects of the upper arm through a very small incision. They can provide contraception for 3 – 7 years and they are more than 99% effective. Side effects are similar to that of the pills and injectables. They can be removed anytime conception is desired and this can be achieved almost immediately.

*Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD). Popular prototype is the Copper-T coil. Up to 99% effective. The insertion is easy and almost painless. The main side effects are irregular bleeding, higher risk of infection and ectopic pregnancy. It can stay for up to 10years and can be removed anytime you feel like conceiving. There is another variety which contains hormones. An example is Mirena® which is also therapeutic in women with heavy menses.

*Barrier methods. Male and female condoms, diaphragms. These may or may not contain spermicides. Failure rate is highly dependent on technique but can be up to 98% with perfect use. Condoms also protect against STIs.

*Emergency contraception. This refers to contraceptives taken after an unplanned, unprotected sexual intercourse. It could be in form of a pill (eg. Ulipristal) or IUCD.

*Female sterilisation. This includes clipping or ligation of the fallopian tubes and removal of the uterus. It requires thorough counselling to avoid regret. It’s suitable for women with debilitating medical conditions in which pregnancy would be life-threatening, such as women close to the menopausal age, severe heart disease, tumours/cancers of the genital tract etc.

*Male sterilisation. Also known as vasectomy. Highly effective. Slight possibility of reversal. Very low uptake due to fear of future regret.

What does Islam say?

Some religions and cultures frown at the use of contraceptives and Islaam is one of them. For a muslim couple to consider family planning, the following factors should be considered:

1. The intention should be for spacing and not to limit the family size out of the fear of poverty. “… We shall provide for them as well as for you…” Quran chapter 17 verse 31)

2. Temporary methods are preferred to permanent or near-permanent methods unless there’s a clear medical indication. The Prophet {peace be upon him} outrightly forbade men from castration.

3. Natural methods are preferred to hormonal and invasive methods. This will ensure guarding of the nakedness and preservation of the fitrah (natural state)

4. The fewer the side effects, the better. “Do not inflict harm and do not harm yourselves” (AlHadith)

©KT

2020

1 Comments on “TAKE A BREAK… (EDITED REPOST)”

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