Today, Dr Vickie shares an untold story of unwanted pregnancy that matters most
“How could it be? It’s not possible. Check well I beg you.”
She could not believe her eyes as she looked at the ultrasound scan placed before her while lying on the couch for her tummy to be examined. She is a young nurse in the obstetrics and gynecology unit of the hospital, one of the best nurses in the unit, very fluent in English language, good in counseling and health education. She excels when it comes to practical sessions, she care for her patient with grace and passion. A lot of patients prefer her because they claim she make all the painful procedures painless for them.
She is married in a monogamous family setting with four children after which she and her husband decided to go for family planning.
“We use condom all the time and it has worked for the past three years, what happened?” she asked the obstetrics and gynaecology team.
Without any doubt, having a baby is a joyful thing, a lot of people in the society are praying to be pregnant just once in their lifetime, and we told her that she couldn’t be crying.
“You cannot be crying here, you know there are patients outside, please be calm,” the doctor attempted to console her.
She mopped her eyes, sat up and asked: “Please help me check again, I just can’t believe that I’m pregnant again.”
“This is a six-week gestational sac, when was your last menstrual period?” the doctor asked.
“I just noticed that I have not seen my period this month, it was supposed to come last week, but this week is going already and I’ve not seen it. This got me worried and I thought of checking it out,” she responded.
”What about blood test, have you done the blood pregnancy test?” the doctor asked.
“I don’t want to be pricked this morning, that’s why I’ve avoided it,” she replied.
She is not the only one in this kind of situation, it is something that affects families across and beyond Nigeria. It has affirmed the postulate that family planning is not just a big deal for those who have gotten their desired family size; it also affects everyone who do not want to unwanted pregnancies – it is generally aimed at promoting health and welfare of the family and, ultimately, contributing significantly to the social development of the nation.
My experience in clinical practice has revealed that different people have different reasons for not performing family planning procedures. I recently read a study that said out of the women who were not practicing contraception when they had unwanted pregnancies, almost half said they were unaware of contraceptive methods. Some claimed family planning is inaccessible and expensive, while the rest said they were afraid of plausible and possible side effects.
Even though there are different methods of family planning, an ideal family planning method is the one that can be said to be very effective with no fear of side effects, convenient to use by the client, not provider dependent. It is also required to be long-acting and not sex-related. In the case of the nurse I described above, her choice of family planning was sex-related – it failed even though it’s one of the best methods.
An ideal family planning method is also required to be easily available, accessible and affordable for individuals and families. So, let me quickly talk about the available family planning methods.
Available methods can be natural or artificial. Natural methods include coitus Interruptus (interrupting coitus), using calendar, monitoring cervical mucus (vaginal discharges) or measuring body temperature to determine fertile period(ovulation period). Another interesting natural method is exclusive breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method). Artificial methods include using condoms which comes in different flavours, diaphragm, cervical cap, vaginal sponge/foam, which are all barrier methods. They prevent the sperm from entering the womb. Hormonal contraceptives e.g oral, injectables, implants, transdermal patch and vaginal rings can also be used.
Sometimes some people miss pills or have sex without protection. No need to fret, there are methods meant to prevent pregnancy even when we make these mistakes, they are called emergency contraception, they are tablets and should be taken within 24 to 48hrs after sexual intercourse, some may still cover up to 72 hrs and more.
There are permanent methods of contraception for both male and female- sterilization. They are also referred to as voluntary surgical family planning methods which include vasectomy for male and tubal ligation for female. This is the type recommended when the family is complete.
You can see that that there are numerous methods available to all families which is why I will advice that you should never allow yourself to be deceived, we gain more by considering family planning compared to what we suffer when we deny contraception. Make your choice today and enjoy a relaxing fear-free sex life with your hubby.