Postpartum family planning (PPFP) is the prevention of unintended pregnancies through the first year postpartum. PPFP is a sub-set of family planning (FP), but focuses on the effective service provision to meet the needs of women during this period. Our approach includes the following key components:
1) Discussing pregnancy risk: Because women are often amenorrheic during this period, they may not realize that they are at risk of pregnancy.
2) Discussing return to sexual activity: In many cultures, sexual activity is commonly delayed after childbirth and during breastfeeding. There may be stigma attached to return to sexual activity, which makes women reluctant to ask for FP services.
3) Supporting optimal breastfeeding practices: Immediate, exclusive and continued breastfeeding are important practices for ensuring child survival during the first year postpartum, and PPFP promotes these practices through integrated messaging.
4) Promoting effective use of the lacatational amenorrhea method (LAM) and transition: LAM is commonly misunderstood as breastfeeding, which alone is not an effective method of contraception.
5) Considering contraceptive method based on timing postpartum and breastfeeding status.
6) Discussing healthy timing of the next pregnancy.
7) Integrating FP within maternal, newborn and child health services.