Essentials of family planning


  • Family planning enables individuals and families to have their desired number of children and exercise control over the time-spacing in between pregnancies.
  • Family planning is secured through an access to contraceptive methods for women and couples, to prevent any unplanned or unintended pregnancy. The use of contraceptive is hence essential in family planning.


Why is family planning important?

  • Family planning allows the timely spacing of pregnancies and delays pregnancies among women with an increased risk of a potential health problem. By introducing family planning, any potential disease or health concern a woman might have would not be transferred to the baby.
  • Family planning reduces and prevents ill-timed births that contribute to a high infant mortality rate. It also reduces the number of women who die as a result of giving birth.
  • It further helps in reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS, as contraceptives deliver a dual protection against unintended pregnancies and also against Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV/AIDS.
  • It also helps reducing adolescent pregnancies, which often carry the risk of a higher rate of neonatal mortality.
  • Family planning is also a key factor when it comes to slowing down the population growth and preventing its negative impact on the environment and economy.



Terminating a pregnancy

  • Situations may arise wherein a women needs to terminate her pregnancy. Below are details of the legal provisions in this regard, as per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
  • A pregnancy may be terminated by a registered medical practitioner with the consent of the pregnant women where:
    • Length of the pregnancy does not exceed 12 weeks, if a medical practitioner is of opinion, or
    • Length of the pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but does not exceed 20 weeks, if not less than two registered medical practitioners are, of opinion
    • The continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or
    • There is a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities to be seriously handicapped.
  • Grave mental injury includes pregnancy caused by rape and pregnancy caused due to fault/failure of contraceptives used by either partner.
  • However, the conditions related to the length of the pregnancy and the opinion of at least two registered medical practitioners; do not apply in a case where the registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, that the termination of such pregnancy is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.
  • For all the above cases no pregnancy should be terminated except with the consent of pregnant woman. For minor girls and mentally ill women written consent of the guardian is essential.


Who can terminate the pregnancy?

Any registered medical practitioner who possesses any recognized medical qualification as per the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, whose name has been entered in a State Medical Register and who has experience or training in gynaecology and obstetrics as per rules in the MTP Act.


Where can the pregnancy be terminated?

In any hospital established or maintained by Government, or in any place approved by Government in this regard. For more comprehensive information please read the Full Text of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 and related documents