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Healthcare for Her: Understanding Family Planning Methods

Healthcare for Her: Understanding Family Planning Methods

As we celebrate Women's Month this March, it's crucial to highlight an essential topic that profoundly impacts individuals and families: family planning (FP). While August marks National Family Planning Month[6], this aspect of reproductive health remains important throughout the year in promoting the overall health and wellbeing of populations worldwide.

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) defines family planning as "having the desired number of children and deciding when to have them using safe and effective modern methods." Throughout National Family Planning Month, the DOH and Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) lead a series of online campaigns focusing on sexual and reproductive health during health crises, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), informed choice and responsible parenthood, and adolescent health and development.[6][8] These campaigns play a vital role in the DOH's efforts to promote informed decision-making regarding reproductive futures and empower individuals and couples to make choices about their family planning journey that align with their values and needs.[9][10]

One of the primary goals of promoting family planning is to safeguard the wellbeing and autonomy of women. Access to preferred family planning contraceptive methods allows women to take control of their reproductive health, enabling them to pursue education, careers, and personal goals while deciding if, when, and how many children to have.[11] Moreover, family planning contributes to community health and development by reducing maternal and infant mortality rates, promoting economic stability, and fostering sustainable population growth.[2] When individuals and couples can plan their families effectively, they are better equipped to provide for the needs of their children and contribute positively to society.

Family Planning Contraceptive Methods

Family Planning Contraceptive Methods

Ensuring universal access to a wide range of contraceptive methods is crucial for effective family planning. Each method provides individuals and couples with choices customized to their preferences, health requirements, and lifestyle.

To shed light on this topic, we teamed up with Bayer For Her Conversations of Care., and sat down with Dr. Joy Cabutihan, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Doctor Anywhere. Dr. Joy elaborated on the different types of family planning contraceptive methods available in the Philippines, providing a comprehensive overview of each:

1. Condoms


Dr. Joy highlighted condoms, a barrier method, as a dual-purpose tool. They protect against pregnancy and reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis.[4][5] "Latex and polyurethane condoms are the only method with FDA-approved labeling that supports the use of the product to prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections," she explained.[1]

2. Contraceptive Pills

Contraceptive pills

These pills come in two types - progestin-only pills and combined oral contraceptive pills.[4] "Progestin-only pills are suitable for women who cannot tolerate estrogen or are breastfeeding, as they do not affect milk production," she clarified. "Combined oral contraceptive pills are taken daily to prevent pregnancy." However, it's important to note that hormonal contraceptives do not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.[1][5]

"Contraceptive pills offer benefits such as helping couples plan the number of children they desire, spacing pregnancies, regularizing monthly menses, and controlling acne," Dr. Joy explained. Additionally, she highlighted potential side effects of certain methods, such as nausea, breast tenderness, headache, and weight gain.[1]

3. Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

IUDs are small contraceptive devices that are shaped in the form of a “T” and inserted into the uterine cavity by trained health personnel. This device is often known as Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive or LARC.[5] It releases copper to prevent pregnancy and protects for between 5 and 10 years. Commonly referred to as a 'coil' or 'copper coil,' when inserted correctly.[4] 

IUDs do not protect against STDs, including HIV.[5] "Adverse effects may include uterine bleeding, perforation, and infection, so proper insertion by trained personnel is crucial," she advised.[1][5]

4. Subdermal Implants

Subdermal Implants

Another LARC, the subdermal implant is a single, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm.[1][4] When initially implanted, you may notice some bruising, tenderness, or swelling around the implant.[7] This rod gradually releases progestin into the body for 3 years.[4]

5. Sterilization

vasectomy for males and bilateral tubal ligation for females

Contraceptive procedures may include surgical sterilization for both males and females.[5] Dr. Joy explained, “The permanent contraception methods available are vasectomy for males and bilateral tubal ligation for females. I strongly recommend careful consideration before making a decision.”[1]

Choosing the right family planning contraceptive method requires careful consideration of individual preferences, lifestyle, and health factors. “Women who have hypertension, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, migraine, varicose veins, or thrombophlebitis should seek advice from healthcare providers to identify suitable birth control options for their specific health conditions," Dr. Joy advised.[1]

Begin your reproductive health journey with confidence and empowerment alongside Doctor Anywhere. Our video consultations with experienced general practitioners and specialists offer a secure and confidential environment for guidance and support. Download the free Doctor Anywhere app now to access 24/7 video consultations with women’s health general practitioners or to schedule appointments with our diverse range of specialists, including OB-GYNs, all from the comfort of your home. Simply open and use the DA app to start video consultations.

*Bayer supports only educational and scientific contents in all posts.


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1. Dr. Cabutihan, Andeylef Joy Sarmiento. Interviewed on 16 February 2024.

3. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2020). World Family Planning 2020 Highlights: Accelerating action to ensure universal access to family planning (ST/ESA/SER.A/450)

10. Usap Tayo sa Family Planning Methods Booklet- 

Bayer approval code: PP-UN-WHC-PH-0024-1

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