Access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health services for everyone, inclusive of women, men, couples, and adolescents, supports the health and well-being of individuals and can have positive economic, environmental, and social benefits for families and communities.

This handbook provides updated accurate and practical guidance to support program managers and providers in delivering high-quality family planning counseling, services and care. Prior editions were widely used to support strong programs: Over 500,000 copies have been distributed through USAID to governments and their partners. We anticipate this 2018 edition will continue to help family planning providers across the globe provide high-quality counseling and services.

Since the 2011 edition, many contraceptive methods have become more available in a range of markets. This edition updates information about these methods and covers new methods, including the LNG-IUD and implants, two long-acting reversible methods; subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPASC), with the potential for self-injection; and the new progesterone-releasing vaginal ring for breastfeeding women. This update confirms that all women can safely use almost any method and that providing most methods is typically not complicated. Indeed, most methods can be provided even where resources are limited.

This handbook provides basic information that providers need to assist women and couples to choose, use, and change family planning methods as they move through their lives. As always, program managers and providers play a central role in supporting clients to make voluntary and informed choices from a range of safe and available methods. The client–provider relationship, grounded in evidence-based and skillful counseling, can help inform the client’s understanding of family planning benefits in general and of the chosen method in particular. New clients may have a method already in mind, but they may not be aware of other options; continuing clients may have concerns with their current method, and knowledgeable counseling can help prevent discontinuation or help clients switch methods effectively. With the information in this book and the right resources, providers can ensure that a client’s reproductive intentions, life situation, and preferences govern family planning decisions.

This update was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization and experts from many organizations. USAID is proud to support its publication. We look forward to continuing the work with our many partners to empower women, men, couples, and adolescents to plan their families and their future.

Ellen H. Starbird

Director, Office of Population and Reproductive Health
Bureau for Global Health
United States Agency for International Development