Why Women Need a Family Planning Provider
All women should make it a priority to receive family planning services. Some women may feel they are staying on top of it by taking birth control; but family planning services are about more than just preventing pregnancy. Family planning includes the information and care necessary to protect a woman’s sexual and reproductive health.
- Birth Control: If you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, there is a wide variety of birth control offered at Philadelphia’s no or low-cost family planning health centers. The best-known method is the Pill, but you can prevent pregnancy with a shot, an implant, an IUD, a patch, or a birth control ring. External and internal condoms are 98% effective for preventing pregnancy and are also available at family planning health centers. Based on your lifestyle, medical history, and plans for the future, your family planning health center can help you choose the right one for you. And if your current birth control is no longer a good fit, your family planning health center can offer other options.
- STD Testing: STDs can be passed through oral, anal, and vaginal sex. You may be at risk for STDs if you’re having unprotected sex. Regular testing is important to preserve a woman’s health. Experts recommend that women get tested once a year, but if you think you’ve been exposed to an STD, have changed partners or relationship status, or just want peace of mind, family planning health centers make it easy to check. Make testing a priority. But also know that tests can be inconclusive if you don’t wait for the infection to be detected through routine testing. Your family planning health center can also help you to develop a plan for testing.
- Signs of STDs: Some STDs have no symptoms. But there are clear signs that may indicate that you have contracted an STD. They include:
- Pain or a burning sensation when you pee, the need to pee more frequently, or the presence of blood in the urine
- Vaginal discharge that is abnormal in color, consistency, or look
- Vaginal itching
- Pain during sex
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Rashes or sores around the mouth or vagina
If you find yourself facing one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment with your no or low-cost family planning healthcare provider.
- Breast and Cervical Cancer Screenings: Even with effective birth control and regular STD testing, women are still at risk for both breast and cervical cancer. Fortunately, breast exams and Pap smears can detect cancer and are available at family planning health centers throughout Philadelphia.
- Pregnancy and Fertility Counseling: Do you plan to get pregnant? Are you trying for a baby, but haven’t had success? You don’t have to go through this alone. Pregnancy and fertility can come with a lot of questions, and family planning health centers offer counseling to provide answers.
- Lifestyle & Physical Changes: For all the reasons above, any changes in body and lifestyle should prompt a visit to a family planning health provider. For example, when you start seeing a new partner, or are seeing multiple partners, or experience a change in relationship status, check in with a family planning provider to be sure you are protecting yourself and your partner. Likewise, other changes may prompt you to visit a family planning healthcare provider, such as changes to your period, thinking about a new relationship, or just wanting your annual exam.
There are so many reasons that women should visit family planning health centers. Fortunately, there are more than 25 no or low-cost family planning centers in Philadelphia.
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