Family Planning Methods: New guidance

 Presented in this report are the recommendations of two expert groups, the Technical Guidance/Competence Working Group of the US Agency for International Development's Maximizing Access and Quality Initiative and the World Health Organization's Family Planning and Population Unit, regarding currently available family planning methods.  The former group addressed key biomedical questions and formulated recommendations about 11 groups of family planning methods: combined oral contraceptives, progestin-only pills during breast feeding, progestin-only injectables, combined injectable contraceptives, Norplant implants, copper-bearing IUDs, tubal occlusion, vasectomy, lactational amenorrhea method, natural family planning, and barrier methods.  A table presents the relative importance, by method, of procedures such as pelvic exam, blood pressure reading, breast exam, and screening for sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.  The medical eligibility recommendations for each method are also presented in tabular form, with four categories for temporary methods: 1) no restrictions on use, 2) advantages generally outweigh theoretical or proven risks, 3) theoretical or proven risks usually outweigh the advantages, and 4) unacceptable health risks.  Included among the 41 conditions for which eligibility criteria are specified are age, smoking, thromboembolic disorder, headaches, irregular vaginal bleeding, family history of breast cancer, obesity, drug interactions, parity, breast feeding, postpartum, and postabortion.  The new guidance presented in this report enables providers to give family planning clients expanded contraceptive choices while ensuring method safety and effectiveness.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,Center for Communication Programs,Population Information Program