Sexual and reproductive health

Updated and expanded guidance for family planning providers worldwide

Third edition of the Family Planning Global Handbook now available

13 February 2018: Family planning is considered a development “best buy” and a life-saving intervention for millions of women and girls. An estimated 214 million women of reproductive age in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. The reasons for this are many and varied. Millions more are using a contraceptive method that nevertheless results in an unintended pregnancy.

Woman receiving family planning counselling, Senegal
Woman receiving family planning counselling, Senegal.
Jonathan Torgovnik

Enabling various levels of health care providers to provide better care to more people, in a straightforward, easily used way, this book translates scientific evidence into practical guidance on all major contraceptive methods. Crucial to the success of family planning efforts worldwide is a well-educated and trained health workforce, and for whom, this new edition of Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, commonly known as the FP Global Handbook has been published today. The handbook has been updated and expanded to include many contraceptive methods that have become available in a range of markets since the last edition in 2011.

“The Global Handbook confirms that all women, including adolescent girls and young women, can safely use almost any contraceptive method.”

Dr. Ian Askew, Director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research

The FP Global Handbook is published by the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health’s Center for Communication Programs, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The Global Handbook represents a collaborative effort to provide high-quality, up-to-date guidance for health-care professionals working in low- and middle-income countries.

The new edition includes information about available and new methods, including the LNG-IUD and implants, long-acting reversible methods; subcutaneous depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA-SC), with the potential for self-injection; and the new progesterone-releasing vaginal ring for breastfeeding women. Other updates include:

  • Recommendations from other WHO guidance on topics such as intimate partner violence, task sharing, and serving clients with disabilities.
  • A new section on how family planning providers should respect, protect, and fulfil the human rights of their clients.
  • New job aids on whether to use the pregnancy checklist or a pregnancy test and on counselling women who want progestin-only injectables where HIV risk is high.

Written in plain terms and organized for quick reference, the Global Handbook is widely considered to be an essential resource on contraceptive methods for health-care professionals. More than 500,000 copies have been distributed in 13 languages since its first publication in 2007.

Experts from around the world have contributed to the development of the Global Handbook and more than 125 international organizations and professional organizations working in family planning have endorsed and adopted its guidance.

The Global Handbook is one WHO’s Four Cornerstones of Family Planning. Together, the four cornerstones support the safe and effective provision and use of family planning methods.

Order a copy

A copy of the 2018 Family Planning Global Handbook with a free print of the “Do You Know Your Family Planning Choices?” wall chart with detailed summaries of each method can be ordered from To request a copy by email, contact and include your name, complete mailing address, and telephone number.

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