Risks Of Contraceptives Much Less Than Risks Of Unwanted Pregnancies: UNFPA


The issue of contraception has caused so much debate in society amid fears that much of the problems facing women today including cervical cancer, low libido and fertility challenges among others are direct effects of using modern birth control methods.

Worsened by Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede’s remarks in his book discouraging women from using contraceptives, there is a general mistrust of modern methods of birth control.


Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, media sensitization workshop in Kadoma last week, Lovejoy Gamba from United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) believes total risks of birth control are much less than the risks of unwanted pregnancies.

According to Gamba unwanted pregnancies and abortions will be averted if society adopt contraceptives.

“Not only women benefit from family planning but children, couples and community, unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions will be averted if used consistently and accurately, maternal deaths will also be averted,” added Gamba.

Benefits of oral contraceptives

According to UNFPA contraceptives prevent unwanted pregnancies, ease menstrual cramps, regulate periods, decreases incidents of ovarian cysts and decrease acne.

The side effects are mild, breast tenderness, nausea, mood changes, weight changes and increase in headaches.

If taken accurately it can be 99-100% effective.


Injectables such as Depo Provera protect women from unwanted pregnancies for 12 weeks and can be used during breastfeeding, six weeks after delivery.

Gamba noted that after the removal of depo provera, it may delay pregnancy by at least six months and may lead to irregular bleeding in the first months which is not harmful.


According to UNFPA, implants including jadelle and implanon are 99% effective,long lasting and reversible.

Gamba said implants do not cause cancer, do not migrate and do not cause pregnancy in HIV positive people.

However implants can cause irregular periods, decrease libido, mood changes and weight gain but after removal women returns to fertility.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception can reduce chances of pregnancy by 75% if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex.

It floods the ovaries with high amount of hormones thus preventing ovulation.

It’s two sets of pills taken 12 hours apart.

Barrier methods

It prevents pregnancy and blocks the ovum and the sperm, barrier methods have a high chance of failure due to design and human error.

The male condom is 97% accurate and the female condom is 95%.

To reduce misconceptions, Gamba noted that the public should be given accurate information on family planning methods.

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