While the fertility rate in Bangladesh is slowly declining, overpopulation remains a national concern. Access to effective contraceptives (also called “birth control” or “family planning”) continues to be a challenge. Finding accurate information can be difficult, and many unplanned pregnancies result from improper use of contraceptives. Thankfully couples in Bangladesh now have a wide range of options for birth control that can help prevent pregnancy while still giving them the option to have children in the future.
While the birth control pill remains the most popular option in Bangladesh, it is only effective if taken every day. Missing doses could result in pregnancy. Fortunately, there are other methods that require much less attention. The depo injection, which involves a single shot every three months, is more effective than the pill. The implant, a small device that is placed under the skin in the arm, can provide up to five years of protection from pregnancy, and is more effective than the pill or the depo injection.
The intrauterine device (IUD) is another easily available but less commonly used option; it is a small T-shaped device placed in the uterus. IUDs can provide pregnancy protection for 5-10 years, and can be removed at any time. Voluntary sterilisation (permanent contraception) is also available at majority healthcare facilities, even in the upazilla level, and is especially worth considering by couples who have decided not to have any more children.
The good news for couples is that birth control is widely subsidised by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of Bangladesh, and services are available in all divisions of Bangladesh. The MoHFW also works with national and international partners to help bring contraceptive services to as many Bangladeshis as possible. This makes contraception cheap and easy to access. There are also options for women who have been exposed to unprotected sex. Progestin Only Pills (POP) are available over the counter to avoid getting pregnant, but must be taken within several days of the event to be effective.
All birth control methods come with risks and benefits, and you must talk to a healthcare provider before using them. None of these methods prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) or HIV/AIDS.
These life-threatening diseases can be prevented by condoms and the good news is that now there are condoms available for both men and women. Knowing your options will help keep you safe from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.