Chapter 4: Reproductive Health – Problems And Strategies

Reproductive Health

It is defined as the total well-being in all aspects of reproduction, i.e. physical, emotional, behavioural and social. Reproductive health implies that people have good and sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide when and how often to do so. India as a country ensures reproductive health to all, and since 1951, successive governments have introduced a number of programs to ensure this, e.g., family planning and RCH (Reproductive and Child Healthcare) programs. The aim of these programs is to create awareness among people about the various aspects of reproductive health.

  • Several audio-visual aids and pamphlets have been developed by both governmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Awareness is being created among school children by introducing sex education in schools.
  • It is essential to provide medical assistance to people with problems related to STDs, pregnancy, contraception and infertility, especially in villages.
  • Amniocentesis (foetal/fetal sex determination based on chromosomal pattern) has been banned to check female foeticide/feticide.

Population Explosion

Improvement in the quality of life due to all-round development (better health facilities and improved conditions of living). Due to a large increment in the world population (around 1 billion in the year 2000). The causes of population explosion are:

  • Decline in death rate (including maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate).
  • Increase in the number of people in the reproducible age.
  • Population explosion causes a scarcity of every basic need.
  • Therefore, it has become essential to check this increase in population. One-child norm, increasing the marriageable age and promoting contraceptive methods are some of the ways to check population explosion.

Birth Control

It is essential to ensure birth control to check population explosion. Contraceptive methods are of two types: • Natural means of contraception • Artificial means of contraception

Natural Contraceptive Methods

  • Avoiding the coming together of ovum and sperm.
  • Periodic abstinence: Avoiding coitus from days 10 to 17 of the menstrual cycle.
  • Coitus interrupts: Withdrawal of penis before ejaculation.
  • Lactational amenorrhea: It is the absence of menstruation during lactation. So, in the lactation period, the chances of conception are almost zero.

Artificial Contraceptive Methods

Physically preventing the coming together of ovum and sperm.

  • Barriers: Include condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps and vaults
  • Intra uterine devices (IUDs): They release hormones to cause phagocytosis of sperms, or they release copper ions to decrease sperm motility.
  • Oral contraceptive pills: They contain hormones either progesterone or progesterone oestrogen combination.
  • Surgical methods: Include Vasectomy (removal of a part of the vas deferens in males) and Tubectomy (removal of a part of the fallopian tubes in females).
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy.

Question: Explain MTP.
MTP stands for medical termination of pregnancy. It is the intentional or voluntary termination of pregnancy before the full term. It is also called induced abortion. It prevent unwanted pregnancy and also has a role in decreasing population. In India, MTP is legal, but with certain strict conditions so as to prevent female foeticide. MTP are considered to be safe up to the 12 weeks of pregnancy.


Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Diseases which are transmitted from infected person to healthy person by sexual contact are called STDs. It is also called venereal diseases (VD) or reproductive tract infections (RTI). Some of the STDs are: Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydiasis, Genital herpes, Genital warts, Trichomoniasis, AIDS and hepatitis B.

  • Some of STDs like AIDS and hepatitis B can also be transmitted by sharing injection needles or surgical instruments, blood transfusion, and from the infected mother to the foetus/fetus.
  • Early symptoms of most of these are:

    • Itching
    • Fluid discharge
    • Slight pain and swelling in the genital region.
  • Some of the diseases do not show clear symptoms often, hence may remain undetected for a long time.
  • Except AIDS, genital herpes and hepatitis-B, other diseases are curable if detected early.
  • When not detected and treated in time, they can lead to complications:

    • Pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID)
    • Abortions
    • Still births
    • Ectopic pregnancies
    • Infertility and even cancer.


Prevention, and timely detection and cure of these diseases are essential to ensure reproductive health and avoid complications. Some of the preventive measures are:

  • Avoiding sex with unknown/multiple partners.
  • Use of condoms during intercourse.
  • To check with a doctor when in doubt.

Name of sexually transmitted disease

Causative organism




  • Infected mucous membrane of urinogenital tract.
  • Genital discharge, painful urination.
  • Children born to afflicted mothers often suffer eye infections.



  • Causes sores and lesions in the genital tract.
  • Burning sensation at urination.
  • Later causes sores in mouth.
  • Can be deadly if not treated.


Trichomonas Protozoa

  • Vaginal irritation, itching and discharge.

AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome)

HIV (Human Immuno Virus)

  • Destroy the immune system of body.
  • Persistent cough and fever
  • Body attacked by other diseases like pneumonia, TB and certain cancers.
  • AIDS is life-threatening disease. At present there is no vaccine to prevent and there is no cure. However AIDS is preventable.

Dharmendra Gaur

Dharmendra Gaur (Msc. Zoology) aka DRGP. I love to learn and teach biology. By this blog I want to increase my knowledge and share my knowledge with others. Feel free to ask what ever you want to ask related to biology, I try my best to help you.

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