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Закрити книгу / close this bookResponsible Parenthood (FAO)
Перегляд документу / View the documentAims/objectives
Перегляд документу / View the documentBasic concepts
Перегляд документу / View the documentActivity no. 1 - Deciding for ourselves
Перегляд документу / View the documentActivity no. 2 - My partner will be...
Перегляд документу / View the documentActivity no. 3 - Is this a responsible family?
Перегляд документу / View the documentActivity no. 4 - The importance of spacing children and planning the family

Activity no. 4 - The importance of spacing children and planning the family

The importance of spacing children and planning the family

A visit from a family planning or planned parenthood worker to illustrate specific methods of controlling or delaying pregnancy.



Note: The visit from the family planning worker is also recommended in the module on The Family and Family Size. It is up to the group leader to decide whether it would be more appropriate to schedule such a visit as part of the activities of one or the other (or both) modules.


• The group leader arranges in advance for a worker from the local family planning or planned parenthood association to visit the youth group.

• The leader explains to the group members that the family planning worker is there to help give them the information they need to make good decisions regarding family size and family spacing, and to answer any questions they may have.

• The family planning worker makes his or her presentation.

• The group leader and family planning worker hold a discussion with the group members on child spacing and planning the family.


So that group members will be able to:


• Obtain good information needed to make responsible decisions regarding family size and spacing.

• Obtain this information within the context of their youth group activities, to obtain their attention and trust.

• Become aware of how to contact their local family planning office or worker.




• Good organization and coordination between the youth group leader and the family planning worker.

• Willingness to listen and learn on the part of the group members. Some background information for the youth group leader.

Some background information for the group leader

The information on child spacing and family planning methods in the next few pages is intended to be presented to the youth group by a family planning or health service worker. This information is included here so that the youth leader will be aware of the main methods available and will be able to answer questions from the youth group if he or she feels confident to do so. It is up to the individual youth leader to decide when and how to use this information. Since the youth group members are. or soon will be at an age where they will find partners, this information is very important for them.

How can rural youth achieve delayed pregnancy and child spacing as part of responsible parenthood?

Today, there are many practical means of controlling pregnancy. All young people should have access to information about these methods, and to the methods themselves. Only by obtaining good information and making rational decisions for themselves can young people become responsible parents.

The freedom to plan and control the size of our families is an essential part of responsible parenthood, because the quality of family life is affected by the number of family members.

the group and decide whether to have separate or joint sessions. Even when sessions are separate though, information about both sexes should be given and discussed with both groups.

What are the main methods of family planning and how are they used?

Condoms, spermicides and other barrier methods

Condoms (for men) and diaphragms (for women) prevent pregnancy by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Spermicides destroy the sperm to prevent pregnancy. Of these methods, the condom is the simplest and easiest to use and is also by far the most effective method for preventing infection by sexually transmitted diseases.


Oral contraceptives (the pill)

When used properly, the oral contraceptive pill is a very effective way of delaying or preventing pregnancy. It has no known effect on preventing infection by STDs, however, and a condom should always be used if it is thought one partner may be infected.

Oral contraceptives (the pill)

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

These are small plastic covered devices placed inside the woman's uterus (they have to be inserted by a doctor) and are very effective in preventing pregnancy but again with no protection against disease. They are a very useful method because once inserted, there is nothing else needed to prevent pregnancy - and if the couple then want to have a child, the device can easily be removed.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Injectables and implants (e.g. depo-provera)

Injections or small capsules placed under the skin (implants) of contraceptives such as depo-provera are one of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy. An injection or implant typically lasts for several months after which pregnancy becomes possible again.

Injectables and implants (e.g. depo-provera)


Vasectomy - male sterilization - is a premanent method of preventing pregnancy. It is a very simple operation involving cutting the tube which carries sperm from the testes to the penis. The operation has no effect on the man's sexual activity but simply prevents the possibility of pregnancy. Since the operation is very difficult to reverse and not always possible, it should be used only when the couple do not wish to have any more children.

Female sterilization involves cutting the tubes which lead from the ovaries to the uterus. This is a more difficult operation but equally effective and with no serious side effects.


Natural methods

There are a number of natural methods of preventing pregnancy, some more effective than others. None are as effective as the contraceptive pill or the condom (when used properly), but for some couples they may be more acceptable. Natural methods of contraception depend on only having sexual inter course in the woman's infertile period - that is avoiding the days when she is potentially able to become pregnant (during the middle of the month between menstrual periods).


This simply means that during sexual intercourse, the man withdraws his penis before ejaculation. It is not a very effective method as it is too easy to make a mistake. In fact there is a joke which says "What do you call a couple who use the withdrawal method"? Answer, "Parents".



Breastfeeding provides a natural method of child spacing. Women who breast feed their babies regularly have a lowered chance of becoming pregnant again for the first six months after delivery.

Booklets in this Leaders Guide Series:

Population and Agriculture
Population, Employment and Income
Population and the Environment
Population and Nutrition
Population and Health
The Family and Family Size
Human Growth and Development
Responsible Parenthood
How the Population Changes
Community Involvement

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Integration of Population Education into Programmes for Rural Youth INT/88/P9

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