WHO Expands Postpartum Family Planning, Increasing Chances for Maternal and Child Survival
Monday, June 1, 2015
The fifth edition of the Medical Eligibility Criteria (MEC) for Contraceptive Use sounds like what you might expect—a compendium of guidelines to assist physicians, nurses and midwives around the world in providing women their preferred method of planning their families. But the June 1, 2015, release of highlights of this updated edition will significantly change the family planning (FP) landscape in developing countries, expanding access to long-acting contraceptives and reducing the unmet FP needs of 225 million women.
The MEC is the global standard on the selection and use of contraceptive methods for women and men. In many sub-Saharan African and Asian countries, policymakers follow MEC recommendations for the preparation of national guidelines that prescribe which FP methods can be offered to their citizens. This newest edition takes a bold, overdue step by relaxing restrictions on the use of hormonal contraceptive methods for breastfeeding women who are less than 6 weeks postpartum. This change greatly expands options for women seeking a contraceptive method following the birth of a child.
- Health Care