Although family planning is often understood as birth control, in reality, it’s much more. The World Health Organization defines family planning as, “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.”
At Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Fernando Ortero and Dr. Norma Alejandra Garcia understand the many aspects of family planning and offers a wide range of services to meet every patient’s goals.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from family planning and how it can benefit you.
The goals of family planning
According to WHO and the CDC, there are three objectives when it comes to family planning:
- Avoid unintended pregnancies
- Reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Reduce the rates of infertility (largely by better managing STDs)
We here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley believe that family planning also achieves several more goals, including:
- Allowing you to better plan financially for your family
- Determining the number and spacing of your children
- Avoiding having children altogether if that is your wish
One of the first steps to meeting these goals is through birth control.
Your options in birth control
There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to birth control, which can make choosing the right one for your goals confusing. To break down your options, we typically group birth control into three categories:
These types of birth control methods prevent sperm from reaching your eggs, and they include condoms, diaphragms, intrauterine devices (IUDs), cervical caps, and sponges.
Another way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy is by regulating your ovulation through hormones, which we can accomplish with:
- Vaginal rings
Each of these options delivers the same hormones; it’s just a matter of choosing the delivery method that’s right for you.
At our practice, we offer several hormonal birth control methods that take some of the hassle out of using birth control, including:
- NuvaRing®, a vaginal ring that lasts for three weeks
- Depo-Provera®, an injection that lasts for three months
- Nexplanon®, an implant that lasts for three years
- IUDs, an implant that lasts for five to ten years
We’re happy to sit down with you to review which option may be best for your lifestyle and goals.
This category is for those who choose fertility awareness, abstinence, or outercourse as their birth control method of choice.
Infertility and STDs
Another aspect of family planning is STD awareness, as well as treatment, to avoid fertility issues. Untreated STDs are one of the most common causes of infertility, so we urge you to come see us regularly for STD testing or whenever you notice any symptoms that don’t seem right, such as:
- Growths (warts) around your vagina
- Vaginal itching
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful sex or urination
In most cases, STDs can be quickly treated, which allows you to avoid much larger problems down the road, such as infertility.
If you have more questions about our family planning services, please contact one of our two locations in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas.