A new series by the Lancet called Family Planning has been published and released on the eve of the UK Family Planning Summit.
The series reviews evidence of the impact of family planning on population health and the environment. “Family Planning” provides a look at a combination of articles that represent the latest thinking behind the UK Family Planning Summit, demonstrating the negative consequences of an unmet need for access to family planning.
Articles in the series cover family planning from the perspective of mortality, economics, country development, human rights, and the environment. Of note is a study co-authored by Amy Tsui explaining how fulfilling the unmet need for contraception could reduce maternal mortality by nearly one third. This study was also highlighted by the New York Times.
In the US, family planning is a divisive issue, especially in terms of international aid. However, according to this study, increased use of contraception was responsible for a 75 percent decline in fertility over the last 60 years. This decline substantially reduced pregnancies in women who have already given birth to many children, and increased those women’s chances of survival. Furthermore, the study brought several other evidence-based key messages to light:
- In 2008, contraception prevented more than 250 000 maternal deaths worldwide, which is equivalent to 40 percent of maternal deaths that year.
- Maternal deaths could be decreased by another 30 percent if all women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy use effective contraceptive methods.
- By reducing births among women with high parity (number of live births), maternal deaths are also reduced; for every one percent increase in contraceptive use, maternal mortality decreases by 4.8 per 100,000 live births.
- Health benefits of specific contraceptive methods outweigh health risks, although minor side effects tend to result in high probability of discontinuation, specifically of hormonal methods.
- Contraceptive use has potential to improve infant survival by 10 percent and age 1-4 survival by 21 percent in developing countries, by increasing the time between successive pregnancies to two years.
To view the series, article summaries, and full articles please click here.