Women's interest in natural family planning

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Authors: Joseph B. Stanford, Janis C. Lemaire and Poppy B. Thurman
Date: Jan. 1998
From: Journal of Family Practice(Vol. 46, Issue 1)
Publisher: Jobson Medical Information LLC
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,891 words

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BACKGROUND. In the United States, approximately 4% of women of reproductive age

use natural family planning (NFP) to avoid pregnancy. It is unclear whether

this low number is related to a lack of available information,

women's lack of interest, or other factors. Our study examined women's interest

in using NFP either to become pregnant or to avoid it.

METHODS. A questionnaire was mailed to 1500 women, aged 18 to 50, who were

randomly selected from driver's license renewal records in Missouri for the

year beginning July 1991 and ending June 1992.

RESULTS. Of the 747 returned questionnaires, 484 were from women who were still

potentially fertile. Of these women, 22.5% indicated that they would be likely

or very likely to use NFP in the future to avoid pregnancy, and

37.4% indicated that they would be likely or very likely to use NFP in the

future to become pregnant. Only 2.8%

were currently using a method of NFP. Past use of any method of NFP (including

the outdated calendar rhythm method) to avoid pregnancy was associated with

interest in future use of modern methods of NFP to avoid

pregnancy. Past use of NFP to become pregnant and the possible desire for

future pregnancy were associated with interest in future use of NFP to conceive.

CONCLUSIONS. Many women who are not currently using NFP indicated that they are

interested in doing so in the future, either to avoid pregnancy or to conceive.

Interest in future use of NFP is associated with, but not limited to, those who

have previously used NFP.

KEY WORDS. Natural family planning [non-MeSH]; rhythm method; family planning;

physician, family. (J Fam Pract 1998; 46:65-71)

In the United States, approximately 4% of all

sexually active women of reproductive age

use a form of natural family planning (NFP)

to prevent pregnancy.[1] Natural family

planning, as defined by the World Health

Organization, consists of "methods for planning

and preventing pregnancies by observation of the

naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the

fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle,

with the avoidance of intercourse during the fertile

phase if pregnancy is to be avoided."[2] Modern

methods of NFP include the ovulation method

(also known as the Billings method), based on the

observation of vaginal discharge of cervical

mucus, and the symptothermal method, based on

the observation of both vaginal mucus discharge

and of basal body temperature.[3]

Most of the women m the United States who are

practicing NFP are using the outdated calendar

rhythm method.[4] The available information about the

characteristics of women using NFP to avoid

pregnancy suggests a variety of motivations, including

religious or moral reasons, medical reasons, and the

desire to use a family planning method that does not

have side effects and does not interfere with the

natural processes of the body.[5,6] The motivations of

women who use NFP to try to conceive are less clear.

Total pregnancy rates from NFP studies

(excluding calendar rhythm studies) range from

2% to 40%.[2,7-12] Method-related pregnancy rates for

perfect use (also known...

Source Citation

Source Citation
Stanford, Joseph B., et al. "Women's interest in natural family planning." Journal of Family Practice, vol. 46, no. 1, Jan. 1998, pp. 65+. link.gale.com/apps/doc/A20367564/AONE?u=null&sid=googleScholar. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A20367564