Family planning saves lives
Contraception improves women's health and saves lives. When a woman waits at least two years after giving birth before getting pregnant again, her developing child is more likely to survive and thrive.
The Population Council is working to expand contraceptive choices. We developed four of the five long-acting, reversible contraceptives currently on the market—ParaGard®, the Copper T intrauterine device (IUD); the Mirena® intrauterine system (IUS); the Jadelle® contraceptive implant; and Progering®, the progesterone vaginal ring suitable for use during lactation.
Bolivia and Egypt provide examples of how maternal mortality can decrease as contraceptive use increases. In both countries Population Council methods account for a substantial proportion of the contraceptives used. In 2008, the Council's IUD was used by 25 percent of Bolivian women using contraception, and by 63 percent of such women in Egypt. The reductions in maternal death seen in Bolivia, Egypt, and other countries are partly attributable to improvements in health care, but recent analyses suggest that the rise in contraceptive use has been equally important.
Contraceptive use reduces maternal deaths by helping women avoid the risks associated with pregnancy. Increased contraceptive use among women of childbearing age reduces the average level of risk among all pregnant women because women who face higher risks from pregnancy—those who are very young, older than 40, or recently pregnant, for example—are more likely than others to use family planning.