Women's Health Experts Can Help You with Family Planning´╗┐

Family Planning

What is Family Planning?

Family planning helps you take control of when, or if, you become pregnant. If you want to have children, family planning helps you decide when to become pregnant and how many children you would like to have.

If you choose to delay pregnancy, want to permanently prevent pregnancy, wish to discuss fertility issues, or have other questions or concerns regarding family planning, we are here to listen, counsel, and guide you, in a safe, comfortable environment.

Trust your Penn Highlands Life's Journey OB/GYN health providers to explain which contraceptive methods are most appropriate for you, based on your health, lifestyle, and personal beliefs. If your religious or personal beliefs do not accept use of contraceptive devices or medications, we can counsel you on natural family planning methods.

What is the Best Contraception Method for Me?

We will carefully evaluate your situation on an individual basis, considering any medical contraindications or related concerns, before recommending a birth control method.

Other factors related to our recommendation include:

  • Effectiveness
  • Convenience
  • Potential side effects
  • Affordability
  • Whether it protects from STD
  • Whether it is reversible
  • When stopped, how long to return to fertility

Family Planning Birth Control Methods

If you choose to prevent pregnancy for now, but may want to become pregnant at some future time, there are many birth control options to consider.

  • Oral contraceptives: a pill taken daily.
  • Depo-Provera: an injection given 4 times a year by your doctor.
  • Hormonal Implants: a small flexible plastic rod inserted under the skin of the upper arm. Prevents pregnancy for 3 years.
  • Birth Control Patch: applied to the skin. Must be replaced weekly.
  • IUD (Intrauterine device): a small t-shaped device placed into the uterus. Effective for 3-10 years.
  • Vaginal Rings: a small ring placed in the vagina. Must be replaced monthly.
  • Barrier Methods: Includes spermicide, condom, and sponge, which can be purchased in a drugstore, or diaphragm and cervical cap which require a doctor's prescription. All work to prevent man's sperm from reaching woman's egg.

Options for Women to Permanently Prevent Pregnancy

  • Postpartum Tubal Ligation: After a woman gives birth, surgery is performed to close her fallopian tubes, which results in sterility.

Natural Family Planning Methods

Also called fertility awareness, natural family planning relies on your awareness of what is going on in your body, including menstrual cycle and fertility pattern. It does not include the use of any birth control drugs, devices, or procedures.

Natural family planning combines the calendar method, basal body temperature, and cervical mucus methods, and is useful for both preventing pregnancy or increasing the chance of pregnancy.

  • Calendar method helps you track your menstrual cycle
  • Basal body temperature identifies increased mucus production indicating ovulation.

A combination of these methods helps you pinpoint your most fertile days, so you can avoid sexual intercourse on those days if you do not want to become pregnant, or to increase sexual activity on those days if you do want to become pregnant.

Is it Difficult to Get Pregnant After Using Family Birth Control?

Most forms of family planning birth control are reversible. If you decide you are ready to consider pregnancy, we will work with you on how to stop using your contraceptive. In the case of an IUD or other implanted device, we will need to remove it for you.

Once birth control is stopped, you may get pregnant right away or it may take several months to return to your regular menstrual and fertility cycle.