Small families mean better health for mothers and kids

Afr Women Health. Jul-Sep 1994;2(3):28-30.


PIP: The practice of family planning (FP) has been used since time immemorial to solve community, individual, and familial problems. There are Biblical references to incest being used to ensure the conception of children and to coitus interruptus being used to prevent conception. Pastoralists used cessation of breastfeeding of male calves to promote the conception and birth of more desirable female calves. The condom has ancient precursors made of animal intestines, and the IUD has a prototype in the stone commonly inserted in the uterus of a camel during long journeys to prevent conception. The issues of effectiveness, safety, and convenience that led to these ancient activities also inform the development and use of modern contraception. FP incorporates fertility control, both treatment for infertility and contraception; abortion is regarded as an indicator of a need for FP, not as part of FP. FP is justified on the grounds of human rights, because it allows an individual to choose whether or not to have a child; on the grounds of health, because maternal age and parity affect the health of the mother and child; on socioeconomic grounds, because overpopulation creates drains on already decreasing resources and because birth to unwed mothers creates difficulties for the children and for society; and on the grounds of improving the status of women because unwanted pregnancy causes women to abandon educational and employment opportunities. The maternal and child health and FP services in Uganda provide immunization, nutrition, prenatal and postpartum care, young child clinic services, school health education, and FP services.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Africa, Eastern
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Economics
  • Family Planning Services*
  • Health
  • Human Rights*
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Philosophy*
  • Population
  • Population Dynamics
  • Population Growth*
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Uganda
  • Women's Rights*