The contraceptive NuvaRing® was the first vaginal ring to be widely introduced. Today, newer contraceptive and multi-purpose rings are in development. © 2005 David Alexander, Courtesy of Photoshare
When I was first learning about family planning methods as a teenager, there were seemingly two real options: condoms (for men, obviously—whoever heard of a female condom?) and the pill. I heard whispers of patches and injectables, but these were followed up with dire warnings from my friends about side effects. The idea of an implant in my arm was terrifying, and an IUD? You may as well have suggested parking a spaceship in my uterus. Besides, wasn’t that something for moms who’d had all their kids already? And, come on, a sponge? Really?
I’m relieved to say I’ve learned plenty since then. Although I don’t have a background in public health, working at CCP has shored up my education in all things family planning. After four years here on the K4Health Project, I can comfortably discuss the various types of IUDs and explain why they’re a great method for many. I know about female condoms and how to use them, and I’ve even learned more about my old friend, oral contraceptive pills. Yet, as technology marches on, even newer family planning methods are reaching the marketplace. And in a world with 85 million unintended pregnancies per year and women still dying in childbirth daily, that’s good news for everyone.