The population of our country is increasing rapidly day by day. Though our country has sufficient food resources but still many people do not get sufficient food for their large families (having many children) due to poverty.
So, every year it is becoming very difficult for our Government to provide sufficient food, adequate clothing, good housing and proper education to every citizen of the country. It is, therefore, very important for the couples (husbands and wives) who are in the reproductive stage of their lives to control the size of their families by having fewer children by practising family planning through birth control measures.
Family planning enables a couple to decide on the number of children it wants to have and when to have them. If a couple has less number of children, it can provide good food, good clothes, and good education to each child.
This will make the parents as well as the children happy. So, a small family is a happy family. It should be noted that having fewer children also keeps the mother in good health. We should remember that to keep the size of our family small by having less number of children is in our own interest as well as in the interest of our Nation.
Family planning can be done by practising birth control measures. Birth control can be done by preventing pregnancy in females (or women). And pregnancy can be prevented by adopting a method or procedure by which sperms produced during copulation between man and his wife can be prevented from meeting the ovum (or egg) and fertilising it.
It is possible to prevent fertilisation (and hence prevent pregnancy) because the ovum is available for fertilisation only for a short period. Since frequent pregnancies have a very bad effect on the mother’s health, and also add to our already exploding population, so a number of techniques or methods have been developed to prevent pregnancies in women. We can call them birth control measures, family planning measures or population control measures. These are discussed below.
The prevention of pregnancy in women (by preventing fertilisation) is called contraception. And any device or chemical (drug) which prevents pregnancy in woman is called a contraceptive. All the birth control methods can be broadly divided into three categories:
1. Barrier methods,
2. Chemical methods, and
3. Surgical methods.
We will now discuss all these methods of contraception (or preventing pregnancies) in women briefly.
1. Barrier Methods:
In the barrier methods of preventing pregnancy, the physical devices such as condoms and diaphragm (or cap) are used. Condoms are used by males (by putting them as a covering on the penis). Condom is called ‘nirodh’ in Hindi. Diaphragm (or cap) is used by females (by putting it in the vagina to cover the cervix). Condom as well as diaphragm prevents the sperms from meeting the ovum (or egg) by acting as a barrier between them. An important benefit in the use of condom is that it protects a person from the sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and AIDS. No other method of contraception provides protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
In the chemical methods of preventing pregnancy, the females use two types of pills: oral pills and vaginal pills, which are made of specific drugs. The oral pills contain hormones which stop the ovaries from releasing ovum (or eggs) into the oviduct. Oral pills are also called Oral Contraceptives (written in short as OC).
This is a very effective method of preventing pregnancy so long as the pills are taken at the right time. Some women, however, do experience unpleasant side effects on taking oral pills because they change the hormonal balance in the body. So, it is important that the women on pills have regular check-ups with their doctor. The vaginal pills contain the chemicals called spermicides which kill the sperms.
3. Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) :
The use of intrauterine contraceptive device called Copper-T is also very effective in preventing pregnancy. A Copper-T is placed inside the uterus by a doctor or a trained nurse. The IUCD or Copper-T prevents the implantation of fertilised egg in the uterus. If a woman uses a Copper-T as a method of contraception for avoiding unwanted pregnancies, then Copper-T cannot protect her from acquiring sexually 1 transmitted diseases (if her partner has such a disease).
Surgical methods of birth control are available for males as well as females. In males, a small portion of the sperm duct (or vas deferens) is removed by surgical operation and both the cut ends are ligated (or tied) properly. This prevents the sperms from coming out. The surgical procedure carried out in males is called ‘vasectomy’. In females, a small portion of the oviducts is removed by surgical operation and the cut ends are ligated (or tied). This prevents the ovum (or egg) from entering into the oviducts. The surgical procedure carried out in females is called tubectomy.