Family planning is a health, social, economic and familial process that largely concerns women but also involves children, significant others and family members, depending on the scenario. Contrary to the term, not all things that fall under family planning are actually about planning for a family. Contraception is also considered family planning.
The first step in family planning when it is ready to be implemented is health care. Health care providers are an important part of both a woman's and a man's family planning. Men can speak to their doctors about various contraceptives, have tests for sexually transmitted diseases and may do fertility tests when the time comes to plan a baby. Women can have the same tests and discussions but will also go to health professionals for ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, checkups, emergency contraceptives and abortions, if necessary.
Financial consequences are common in poor family planning. If a couple has a child and neither is financially stable, it can mean college becomes unaffordable, buying a house will have to come later and the couple may even have to go on public assistance. The health care costs, and then the costs of the child, are enough to set a couple back financially for many years.
Family planning means knowing when you are ready to have a child and using contraceptives responsibly until then. The result of forgoing contraception before you are ready is unplanned pregnancies. An abortion is a health risk that is unnecessary with the right precautions. It is quite safe in a sterile, professional environment, but it is still a preventable medical procedure and can be emotionally damaging.
An unwanted pregnancy can become a wanted child for a couple that decides to have the child and raise it. That is wonderful, and even more so if the family can afford the child. If not, there are only nine months to prepare for hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of supplies, budgeting the new needs of the household and scheduling careers around a child. These are things best done or at least discussed thoroughly well in advance.
Sadly, education usually suffers when family planning is neglected or goes wrong. Young couples may still be in high school or on their way to college when a pregnancy occurs. Without some careful planning, one or both parents may have to put aside their educations until it is more convenient.
While it can be said that even some happy families came about when family planning did not go as planned, an unplanned pregnancy can lead to a great deal of turmoil. Knowing you have a strong relationship before you have a child can prevent the child being raised by a single parent or in an unhappy household. Planning a child responsibly means being happy about having a family before it even happens, which means less stress throughout the whole process, leading to a happier home.