When is the Best Time to Have a Baby?
by Dena Mae Amor Desabille-Deblois, MD, MPH

Only have a child when you are ready, whether you are 19 years old, 28 years old, or 40 years old.

In the Philippines, the expense of having a child has increased significantly, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only the monetary cost of a baby’s first year of life, which is conservatively estimated at Php 300,000+, but also the obligations that come with it. As a result, a sexually active couple must have a clear plan in place for their future family. The couple must determine their desired family size, birth spacing, and method/s to achieve their goal. This helps improve the health outcomes for families and their communities.

Keep in mind that the best family planning method is one that is tailored to your own need. Think about your daily routine, relationships, health, and goals. Whatever method you choose, it is critical that you understand and follow the directions. Here are some questions to consider while deciding on a family planning method.

1) How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?

Abstinence from sex is the only way to prevent a pregnancy completely. The most successful methods for a sexually active couple, with a chance of less than one pregnancy per 100 women per year, are the implant and intrauterine device (reversible), as well as bilateral tubal ligation or vasectomy (irreversible). Methods that are moderately effective with the risk of 6 to 12 pregnancies in 100 women in a year are hormonal injectables, pills, patches, rings, and cervical diaphragms; the effectiveness of these methods would require consistent and correct use. On the other hand, methods that are the least effective with the risk of 18 or more pregnancies in 100 women in a year are condoms, withdrawal, fertility awareness-based methods also known as “natural family planning methods”, and spermicide.

2) What are your personalized health concerns?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to family planning. You would need to assess your capacity to adhere to the recommended methods, your pre-existing conditions, and your desired family size. A special example would be a breastfeeding mother who desires to have a child in the next two years after her first-born. She will benefit from lactation amenorrhea on the first 6 months after giving birth, provided that the following conditions have been met:

(1) no return of menses after pregnancy and delivery,

(2) within 6 months post-partum, and

(3) exclusive breastfeeding with intervals of 4 to 6 hours.

3) How much does Family Planning methods cost?

Most of the artificial family planning methods require consistent and correct use to prevent pregnancy. You would need to consider the cost of the method when you use it because your compliance to it will depend on the following: accessibility, availability, affordability, and quality. Natural family planning methods, on one hand, would require the discipline and cooperation of the couple to avoid their fertile window where the woman will most likely get pregnant.

Being a parent is not a one-time commitment. Rather, it is saying “yes” every day to nurturing a life aside from yours. You can never be truly ready physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially for the little one. What you can do is to be willing to learn each day

As a baby is born, their parents are also born.

For any question on the appropriate family planning method for you, you can Call Doc, Anywhere, Anytime, with Medgate.