Family planning goes beyond birth control to refer to a variety of issues that influence family size. Women's ages affect their likelihood of becoming pregnant, and ironically younger women who may not be ready to be mothers yet have an easier time of it. Parents must also consider prenatal care to reduce the risk of birth problems and they must make sure they can afford to support their families.
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Birth control is the most recognisable factor in family planning. While women can take hormonal birth control, such as oral contraceptives, without their male partners knowing, other forms of birth control require mutual consent. The use of any method should be a mutual decision, according to Medline Plus at the National Library of Medicine. Careless sex without condoms can cause unwanted pregnancies, as can ineffective methods of birth control or inconsistent use.
Age is a very influential factor in family planning. Teenagers may not be familiar with birth control and engage in careless sex that increases the risk of pregnancy. Some birth control methods are prescription-only and require a guardian's consent. Teenagers may be too afraid to ask for consent, or parents may refuse in hopes of dissuading their daughters from engaging in sexual activities, which does not always work.
According to a 2007 MSNBC report, women in their late 30s and older may have more trouble getting pregnant than young women. Older women also have an increased risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects or low birth weight, according to "Reducing Risk Factors," a Concept Media video on pregnancy.
Parents need money to pay for prenatal care and later support their expanded families. Couples who do not want to be parents need money to afford birth control. This is a major problem, as the poor cannot pay for birth control, nor can they afford to support their children well when they are unable to prevent their families from growing. Medical News Today states that poverty-stricken populations are often unaware of birth control, prenatal care and other important family planning factors.
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