Family Planning & Birth Control Measures
Family Planning and birth control are the most crying needs of our time, at least in India.
At this juncture, it must be clearly understood that family planning and birth control do not mean the same thing. In fact, birth control is one of the methods of family planning. Family planning is a vast subject and through this planning, you achieve family as big as you want. You need not adopt the only birth-control procedure to achieve this end. You can always have the ideal sized family by self-control. But this self-control calls for a variety of strict rules to filter one’s natural urge. Since this is not possible in a modern life where all sort of sexual temptations are hovering all around you, you are asked to adapt to various artificial and medicinal means to achieve this red.
Another greatly detracting factor is the ‘divine hand’ in having a child. Still, even the educated and enlightened persons carry this notion that it is only by the grace of Lord Almighty that one gets a child. Well ! if you have your genetic organs functioning well and the secretions are potent, you might have as many issues as the number of time you have intercourse with your spouse! There is no divine influence in it. It is your sweet will. And if you don’t want to have a child, there are scores of techniques and apparatus available to help you achieve this aim. But by saying so, we don’t mean that you should not have a child. have a couple of them only by all means. Remember that having a child or children is a must for your own psychic welfare. Children are a unique gift of eternal creativity. God has granted to husband and wife a unique ability, unshared by any other creature in the universe: to create another human being with a free will, an eternal soul, and the capability of passing on that unique gift to his children. Reduced to the barest terms, a husband and wife have the ability to create an eternal person. Another factor in support of having a child is: he provides a lifetime blessing. They are blessing no doubt but ‘blessing’ should be limited to your capability of receiving fully this benediction. Although in raising a child we confront sickness, failure, financial pressure and almost every dilemma children and young people can create, yet the joys and blessing of having a child far outweigh any sacrifice. Hence the children fulfill the psychic requirement of your mind. They give you a sense of creative fulfillment.
But despite these all arguments, one must realize that all these only favors having a child or two but not in many numbers. Your lineage’s continuity is also assured by having just one or two. No one asks you to have no children at all. Have them by all means but in limited number. It is always said that it is better to have one healthy and intelligent child rather than have many weak-limbed and hair-brained ones.
Having one child is ideal but it has certain basic psychological disadvantages. One child is always lonely, he doesn’t have the feeling of brotherhood and hence unable to befriend people. Hence the ideal family is having just one male and one female issue. It is in the light of the above discussion that having a small family is not only good for the person but for the nation also.
But, we admit, that it is almost impossible to make people suppress their sexual urge for the fear of having more children. That is why there are dozens of fool-proof techniques to prevent conception. It has a great psycho-physiological advantage also. When you use these techniques, you are able to enjoy copulation better as you are sure of having no conception even by mistake. The full sexual satisfaction makes one a fuller being having his all desires fully satiate.
The Modern Techniques and Methods for Birth Control
We are by now quite familiar with the phenomenon of reproduction comprising the sexual act in which the man (husband) discharge his sperm into the vagina of the woman (wife). The spermatozoa or vital life-germs in this fluid travel into the womb where one of them unites with an ovum, or egg, shed by the right or left ovary of the womb during the woman’s menstrual period, to form the embryo, which develops into the fetus or living child. The whole process ultimately results in the woman becoming pregnant and is known as conception. The very antithesis of conception is known as contraception, which aims at preventing these male sperms from uniting with the female ovum, and from times immemorial right up to the present day, many are the practices and devises that have been and are still being, adopted by the females and males to achieve this very purpose. Thus by contraceptive devises the births of the children are held in control.
The birth-control methods fall into two categories: reversible and irreversible. As the name suggests reversible methods are those which if withdrawn can again make the woman conceive and irreversible are those methods which if once adopted cannot be taken back.
THE REVERSIBLE MEANS OF BIRTH CONTROL
(i) The Pill
The most effective is the pill between one and three pregnancies for every user. They cost around Rs. 20-30 per month. When it first came out, the number of adverse side effects reported made many women reluctant to use it. But modern research has reduced many of these by discovering that a milder dosage is just as effective and is safer for use over a long period. Statistically, the pill is less hazardous to life and health than smoking, drinking or even swimming.
It is one-fourth the size of a standard aspirin tablet. Different kinds require one tablet daily for twenty, twenty-one or twenty-eight consecutive days each month. When the tables are taken as directed, it is believed that they control ovulation, for no egg has ripened. Thus sperm may freely enter the oviducts without the possibility of conception occurring. In this way, the oral tablet provides the advantage of protection all the times. It is only because of its safety and simplicity that we consider the pill the preferred method for a new bride in the early stages of marriage. Then, after she and her husband have both learned the art of married love, she may decide on some other method. It is advisable that such as girl see her doctor at least two months prior to her wedding and follow the advice given by the doctor.
(ii) Condom with Cream or Foam:
When used in conjunction with a contraceptive jelly, cream, or foam, the condom has produced less than ten pregnancies per thousand women. The condom is the world’s most often used artificial method for conception control and is freely available in India.
The condom has many advantages. It is available at drug stores without a medical prescription, it is free from side effects, the visible proof of effectiveness is available immediately after intercourse and it is quite simple and easy to use. This condom places the responsibility for birth control on the husband. Of course, there are certain drawbacks in its use but they are of minor nature. First, it may reduce sensation in penis, but for many couples this is an advantage in helping to delay the husband’s ejaculation; second, it is an interruption to sexual foreplay, but this objection can be easily overcome with the right attitudes when the wife lovingly places the condom on her husband as an erotic part of sexual foreplay; third there is discomfort to the wife without some lubrication, but this may be resolved thorough the purchase of lubricated condoms hermetically sealed or the use of contraceptive jelly, which serves a double purpose by affording added safety. Do not use a contraceptive cream, for this may be harmful to rubber. It is usually good to put a small amount of the lubricant inside the condom to provide lubrication direct to the head of the penis.
There are many high grade latex rubber condom available which can be reused many times by simply washing it thoroughly with soap and water and drying it with a towel, then powdering it with talcum powder or cornstarch and then inspecting it through by blowing it up like a balloon and holding it up to a good diffused light. If no flaw appears to slip the condom on to the first and second fingers and, with these fingers spread apart roll it up just as it was originally. In short, the condom or Nirodh continues to be the world’s most widely used contraceptive device.
(iii) The Intrauterine Device IUD:
This is more effective than any other mechanical method of contraception except for the condom used with spermicidal cream or jelly.
An intrauterine device is a soft, flexible plastic loop or irregular-shaped disc which a physician must insert through the cervical canal into the uterine cavity, using a small tube about the size of a soda straw. This procedure can be done in any doctor’s office with a minimum of discomfort and is rarely painful. The IUD is most easily inserted at the time of the regular six-week checkup after the birth of a baby. Otherwise, it should be introduced just after a regular, normal menstrual period. Each week the woman should insert her index finger well into the vagina to feel the short thread which is attached to the IUD and which protrudes the opening of the cervix. This thread allows her to be certain that IUD is in its proper place. Later this thread will be used to facilitate the removal of the IUD, also known as the loop. The IUD may cause cramps and backache, especially for the first few days after insertion. Occasionally there may be heavier menstrual bleeding or even spotting between periods in the first several months. But the majority of the users felt no inconvenience when they used this device.
(iv) The Copper ‘T’:
This is the latest mechanical device and is most effective and foolproof. In fact, it is the most popular device which has no side effects and is almost totally safe. This is actually a flexible shape of the copper tube made in the form of the English letter (Capital) ‘T’. The lady might face a little backache and more bleeding during the menses. But the best thing about Copper ‘T’ is that after its insertion the woman becomes safe for about three to four years. That is, she cannot conceive till she has copper ‘T’ fixed in her private part. The purpose of this device is also like the loop, to prevent the sperms from uniting with the female ovum. Since this device is totally safe and has no side effects, it is growing increasingly popular. Its only disadvantages to those few ladies who are allergic to copper and whose uterus is not normal. Otherwise, it is the safest and best device available in the modern times. And it does not vary costly either. It costs about Rs. 100/- to 150/- for one insertion. Since it guarantees contraception for at least three to four years, all persons can afford it.
The diaphragm is strong, lightweight rubber cap somewhat smaller than the palm of the hand. It was the first medically accepted contraceptive, developed over fifty years ago. The thin ring of the diaphragm is made of a ring-shaped, rubber-covered metal spring. Because the spring is flexible, the whole diaphragm can be compressed and passed easily into the vagina. It I then released in the upperwidening canal of the vagina, where it covers the cervix like a domed-shaped lip.
Since the distance from the back wall of the vagina to the PELVIC bones varies from woman to woman, the diaphragms are made in a variety of sizes. During the pelvic examination that offers no discomfort to the woman, the doctor must measure this distance in order to select the proper diaphragms for the lady. As Properly instructed by the physician, the diaphragm must be inserted prior to intercourse, preferably several hours before intercourse. If the diaphragm fits properly, neither mate should be aware of its presence.
This device acts as a barrier or reflector, preventing sperm from entering the uterus, but to be effective it must be covered on the side next to cervix with a spermicidal jelly or cream made for this purpose. If extra lubrication is not needed select a contraceptive cream. The spermicidal preparations are placed on the diaphragm to kill all sperms on the diaphragm to kill all sperms on contact, and we must warn you that the diaphragm is almost worthless without a spermicidal preparation. You may be able to use the same diaphragm for many years if you find no defect in it.
The diaphragm is a well-established proven method which affords many women the security of the physical barrier in addition to the spermicide. This diaphragm has no effect on future fertility of the woman.
(vi) Vaginal Foam:
This device contains spermicides and has been in use for over thirty years. Spermicidal products used by themselves or the contraception, contain chemicals which, when placed in the vagina, will kill sperms without harming the delicate vaginal tissue. These products are available in three forms: foams, plastic, the vaginal applicator which automatically measures the proper amount. They are so effective that only one application is required before each act of intercourse, and the woman need not douche after its use. In fact, she should wait for at least six hours if she douches at all many women have found this method to be safe, effective and fool-proof.
(vii) The Rhythm Method:
This rhythm method for controlling conception requires abstinence from intercourse during the days just after ovulation. It attempts to avoid conception by permitting sperm to be present in the woman only when the ripened egg is thought to be absent. No product is used in this method.
Well, there are two ways by which the ovulation may be predicated. The first is called the temperature technique, in which the wife takes her temperature before arising each morning. A slight drop in temperature, followed by a substantial rise, usually indicates that ovulation has occurred about the time of increase. The procedure must be carefully followed many months, or only after a series of consecutive months of recorded body temperature can be a fairly valid prediction of the time of ovulation to made.
Another method requires recording of the wife’s menstrual cycles for at least eight months or, ideally, one year. This means that she must keep track of her menstrual flow on a calendar.
It is known by experience that ovulation most often occurs about two weeks prior to the beginning of the menstrual period.
A woman with a regular twenty-eight-day cycle will, therefore, ovulate about the fourteenth day. Allowing three days before and three days after the ovulation to include the time when both the egg and sperm are still alive, the fertile or unsafe days would last from about the eleventh through the eighteenth days. From the eighteenth day on, no egg would be present to be fertilized and thus conception would not normally take place. The days before the eleventh days are also believed to be safe, but this is much less certain because of the length of time the sperm cells may remain alive within the woman. Thus from the recorded menstrual cycle information, eighteen is subtracted from the number of days in the shortest cycle and eleven is subtracted from the number of days in the longest cycle. These days are considered fertile or days which are unsafe.
This method could be reliable provided one knows the exact day of ovulation. The discipline of adhering to abstinence on certain days is the least of the problems presented by this method. The crucial problem is to know when abstinence is indicated. Unfortunately, this cannot be consistently determined with accuracy for a specific woman because the menstrual cycle is often irregular and is never so reliable as it may appear on the calendar. In fact, there are many variables. A little illness, shock or other physical or emotional changes can disturb the menstrual cycle and hence the calculation. Use contraceptives one week before your period and five days after your period.
(viii) Interrupted Coitus:
This is classical parlance is known as ‘coitus interruptus’ which means the withdrawal of the penis from the vagina just before the ejaculation. This is generally considered a weak practice because it imposes the great restriction on both partners at the very time each should feel the freest in the act of love. Also, it fails to take into account that some sperms are usually present in the lubricating fluids secreted from the penis during sexual excitement before ejaculation or climax. And since just one sperm is needed to fertilize the egg, this method is not full proof either. Another reason is that in this method it is almost impossible for a wife to reach orgasm regularly.
THE IRREVERSIBLE MEANS OF BIRTH CONTROL
Vasectomy is one method. We know there is a small tube called the vas deferens which proceeds from the testicle upward toward the seminal vesicles near the prostate gland. This tube is about the size of the ink reservoir of a ball-point pen. If a husband will grasp the loose skin of his scrotum between his testicle and his body, he will be able to roll this little tube between his thumb and fingers.
When performing the operation the doctor grasps this little cord-like tube between his finger and then, catching a loop of the tube with a sharp grasping instrument, makes a small, (about one-half inch) incision in the skin of the scrotum, bringing a loop of the tube to the outside. This skin incision is usually small enough that it does not require sewing up after the operation, largely because of the looseness of the skin of the scrotum. A section of this cord is then removed from one half-inch to two inches long. For an older man who is absolutely certain he will never want to consider a future repair of the tube (an attempt to be capable again of releasing sperm), he may suggest that his doctor take out an extra-long section. The length of the section removed determines, more than any other single factor, the success of the operation, which can fail only if a new channel develops through the scar tissue between the two cut ends. The doctor may also cauterize or burn each cut end of the vas to help decrease the opportunity for recanalization.
The operation performed on the lady is known as tubectomy in which the fallopian tubes about one-inch portion are cut off and the loose ends of the tubes are tied together. This whole operation could be performed in less than half an hour and done under local or spinal anesthesia. On the seventh day of the operation, the stitches are removed. By this operation, the chances of the lady’s conceiving are reduced to zero.
All these operations are to be performed under the guidance of a good surgeon to avoid any complications. Now we shall discuss some traditional methods of birth control.
TRADITIONAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL
(i) Some Sexual Postures to Prevent Conception:
- In this posture than man lies on his back with his legs slightly raised, i.e., with his knees slightly raised up from the ground, the sole of his feet touching the ground. He may also place a hard pillow under his loins. The wife comes over the man and rides him astride. When the union of the organs has been affected, the woman begins rhythmic, frictional movements by alternatively raising and lowering her whole body. It should be borne in mind that in order to maintain the union of the organs, the woman cannot band forward to clasp her husband. She must lean as far backward, facing him.
- In this posture the man sits on his buttocks, bending his knees and folding his legs in front of him. The woman sits astride on his thighs, i.e., the left leg of the woman is to the right side of the man, and her right leg to his left side. By raising his knees, the man can raise and lower the buttocks of the woman to suit his requirement.
- In this posture, the woman lies on her abdomen, fully stretched out. She may keep her thighs closed or partly open. The man comes over her, supporting himself on his knees and elbows. But on account of the anatomical structure peculiar to them, there is fear of the union between the penis and vagina-breaking abruptly in this posture. This mishap can be averted by just placing a hard cushion under the pubic region of the woman. This will slightly raise her hips so that her thighs will be on a downward incline. But see that the cushion is not placed directly under the abdomen.
- In this posture, the woman kneels down and bends her trunk forwards. Her buttocks and hips, therefore, are much higher than her head. There is a downward slope from the hips to the head. The woman thus rests upon her knees at the back and on her elbows and shoulders in front. The man kneels behind and bends his trunk forwards.
- The ‘Quadruple Posture’ is that in which the woman keeps herself on all fours, her back and trunk being horizontal, and the husband meets from behind, it resembles the attitude prevailing among the quadrupeds. Hence the name.
- In this posture both the woman and the man usually lie on their left sides, though the right side is also practicable. The back of the wife is towards her husband. The left hand of the man is beneath his partner, while his right hand is free to caress her. The wife bends her legs slightly forwards so that her trunk and thighs instead of being in a straight line, make an obtuse angle. The union of the organs is easy enough.
- In this posture, the man sits on the ground or bed with his thighs slightly parted and takes the wife, whose back is turned toward her husband, on his lap. The wife also bends forwards a little so that the union of the organs may be affected.
Remember that sexually; the man has the profound instinctive urge to ejaculate into the vagina of the woman, and also the urge to penetrate into the woman as deeply as possible at the moment of ejaculation. Satisfying either of these two mighty urges in the normal attitude (i.e. in which the man is over and above the woman and she lies on her back with her thighs parted and her knees partly or fully bent), means placing of the germinating fluid directly at the mouth of the uterus and impregnating the wife. If prevention of conception is desired while satisfying these two urges, the only successful way consists in inserting the organ at an angle which is not in line with the axis of the vagina. For then the glans penis of the male will be in contact with the wall of the vagina-anterior or posterior-somewhere near the vulva and while the seminal fluid has an easy chance to escape to the exterior, the sperms have a greater difficulty to reach the uterus.
Although the experienced sexologists do not consider these methods totally reliable, yet the traditional authority on the subject avers them as safe methods. However, to doubly assure the contraception, washing out the vagina after intercourse by Douche is also necessary. Another method is to render the sperm ineffective by softly sponging the diluted solution of vinegar. Immediately after the sex rite is over, the woman should get the sponge and soak it in the solution of vinegar by lowering it into the wide-mouthed bottle by means of the thread. After rinsing out the surplus solution, the sponge should be inserted into the vagina as far as it will go. This will serve a double purpose. The sponge will block up the passage of the sperms into the cavity of the uterus, while the vinegar solution will render inactive all the sperms that come in contact with it. Absolute safety from conception is thus assured. The vinegar solution, though fully efficient to kill the sperms, is yet so harmless that it will not injure the most delicate vaginal wall. The sponge may be removed next morning or a few hours after its insertion, washed and dried and kept ready for use again.
(ii) Some Age-old Contraceptive Oral Devices & Medicines:
- After the menses, if a lady eats just seven flowers of Chameli (kind of jasmine) she will not conceive for at least one year.
- If a lady eats about 2 gms. of the ash of Dhak (Palash flower) for a week, she is not supposed to conceive again.
- Having about 2 gms. of turmeric powder with water after menses for a week will kill the chances of the lady’s conceiving again.
- If a man washes his penis with a solution of Cestoda (mixed in water) before copulation his perms will become in effect and the conception, then, can’t take place. Washing the vagina with this solution before copulation with this water also gives the same effect.
- Eating the Nimboli (the small fruits of the Neem tree) with butter also prevents conception. She may take this dose every day after her dinner and she would not conceive for at least one year.
- Adding just 2 gms. of ‘boora’ (sugar candy powder) with even amount of ‘Chob Jochum’ and eating the combination for 21 days regularly after menses will prevent conception for even.
- If a lady eats a seed of Bel-Anjeer (big fig) and refrains from eating the things that give ‘cold-effect’ for about a month, the combination will render her barren for about a year.
- If a lady takes about 10 gms. of sulfur powder mixed with milk or butter, she will not be able to conceive for a year.
All these formulae are very effective but they must be tried only under a supervision of a renowned country physician or Vadiya.
Abortion is a desperate means of birth-control. Strictly speaking, it is a means of birth control because this stage occurs after conception, if all the precautions fail and the couple is not prepared to have a child, they can resort to this means also, provided no law is broken. Termination of a pregnancy, whether spontaneous or accidental or even deliberate is abortion. Spontaneous or accidental abortion is caused by certain defects of the mother or the fetus or both. The imperfect development of the ovum into embryo and fetus results in involuntary termination of a pregnancy any time before the seventh month. Miscarriage and abortion mean termination or interruption of pregnancy but technically there is a difference between the two. Abortion is deliberate while miscarriage is spontaneous or involuntary. Miscarriage is actually the handiwork of the procreative defense mechanism. This mechanism destroys such an embryo or fetus which is a monstrous abnormally. Such an abnormally in fetus results in premature uterine contractions which casts out the defective fetus. Thus, often, a miscarriage is a blessing in disguise because it prevents the birth of a defective child. In such cases of conceptions, abortion is the only safe option. Even otherwise if the parents don’t need a child after conception, they can have the embryo aborted after proper medical advice and the legal sanction.
The material defects leading to abortion include vitamin deficiencies, vaginal and uterine infections, displacement of the womb and violent emotional disturbances. Most of the miscarriages are in the early months-i.e. between conception and fourth month. Many miscarriages may occur early, so much so that sometimes the women are not even aware of it. Sometimes an accidental or physical shock may also result in a miscarriage. A miscarriage doesn’t mean miscarriage after every conception. However, it is advisable that a woman who has the miscarriage once, is looked after well during the next pregnancy and suitable prevention measures are taken.
A deliberate interruption or termination of a pregnancy is an abortion done by a qualified doctor in the hospital or nursing homes. There are medicines which destroy an unwanted embryo or fetus and cast it out. But such medicines are to be used only under expert medical guidance. There are certainly poisonous and terminate the pregnancy without harming the mother. The deliberate termination of pregnancy is done for various reasons. It may be done because the mother’s health is too poor to safely deliver the child and the pangs of delivery might endanger her life. The other reasons may be having some sociological connotation-that is, the child may be illegitimate or deformed and the parents may not be willing to have such a child. The Indian Supreme Court in a 1973 ruling has also legalized abortion under certain given conditions. There are many clinics and nursing homes which undertake this job legally.
However, barring certain given conditions, the abortion cannot be taken as a method of birth control. It is unethical also. If there be some defect in the mother or the child you can only have it legally aborted in the initial months. But after these months the abortion should not be attempted because in the advanced stage such attempts might endanger the woman’s life. It is always better to err on the side of life than in the side of death. After all the children are the physical expression of your love, your coalescence into each other’s entities.