General health care may be underemphasized in promotion of family planning and family planning education, and this may discourage acceptance of the practice. Inadequacy of available contraceptive methods to overcome discomfort or other side-effects, and insufficient medical follow-up on this, may also lead to a rejection of the idea as a whole. The health risks related to pregnancy often go unstated. The fact that general health care is not emphasized in family planning makes the task of overcoming religious and societal taboos much harder, and provides no counterweight to the arguments in favour of large families as a means of insurance against sickness and old age.
[Developing countries] Every year in Africa and Asia alone, half a million women die from pregnancy, childbirth and after-birth effects – leaving behind over 1 million motherless children.
Being pregnant, giving birth and breast feeding are exhausting processes for a woman's body. If the recovery time is too short, health pays the price. Infants are more likely to be malnourished. Mothers suffer from anaemia, toxaemia and plain exhaustion. Babies are prone to low birth weights and the consequent 20 times greater risk of death in infancy. The age of the mother, as well as the frequency of birth, also links family planning to health. Outside the age band 20-35, there is a higher incidence of unwanted pregnancy, a higher risk to the mother, and a higher rate of mortality among the infants born. And roughly one-third of all births in the world are to mothers younger than 20 or older than 35.