World Contraception Day celebrated every year on September 26, was launched to raise awareness about the importance of contraceptive methods, promote reproductive health and empower individuals to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive rights.
First celebrated in 2007, it was initiated by a coalition of international organisations including the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International.
The primary goal of World Contraception Day is to emphasise the importance of effective contraception in preventing unplanned pregnancies, reducing the risk of unsafe abortions and promoting overall reproductive health and rights for women worldwide.
Contraception plays a crucial role in the well-being of women globally. It allows women to plan and space their pregnancies, which can positively impact their educational and economic opportunities.
Moreover, contraception helps to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternal and child health. When women have the ability to plan pregnancies, they can avoid unintended pregnancies, which decreases the risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
It allows them to prioritise their health and well-being by spacing pregnancies, which reduces the likelihood of complications and improves the chances of healthy outcomes for both the mother and child.
According to the United Nations Population Fund South Africa, great progress is being made on the African continent with maternal deaths almost halved since 1990, as more women and men are able to better plan and space their children, and young people are more informed on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
During this year’s World Contraceptive Day, Lizeth Kruger, Dis-Chem & Dis-Chem Baby City’s National Clinic Executive, is shining the spotlight on the importance of access to reliable information about contraceptives, and the invaluable role of clinics in creating safe spaces where women, young and mature, can learn, grow and make confident birth control choices.
“World Contraceptive Day epitomises the progress and empowerment of women in shaping their reproductive well-being.
“We encourage every woman to consult a healthcare expert and explore the diverse contraceptive options available to them to allow them to make informed choices,” said Kruger.
Family planning is a powerful tool in reducing unintended pregnancies, which can have a positive ripple effect on society. It allows mothers to plan for their babies, ensuring that every child is welcomed into a loving and prepared environment, highlighted Kruger.
There are several common contraceptive methods available to choose from, each with its advantages and considerations.
Birth control pills: Oral contraceptive pills containing hormones such as oestrogen and progestin are taken daily to prevent pregnancy.
Birth control shot: An injection of progestin is administered every three months to prevent pregnancy.
Hormonal implant: A contraceptive implant is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that is placed under the skin of the upper arm. The implant releases a low, steady dose of progestin.
The hormone prevents pregnancy by pausing ovulation. And it thickens the mucus of the cervix.
Hormonal IUD: A small intrauterine device releasing hormones is placed inside the uterus, providing contraception for several years.
Tubal ligation, also known as "getting your tubes tied," is a surgical procedure that involves closing or blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from being fertilised.
A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that involves cutting or blocking the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles, thus preventing sperm from entering the semen.