A critical review of natural family planning studies

  • J. M. Spieler


Periodic abstinence, rhythm and natural family planning are terms often used synonymously to describe fertility regulating methods based on the cyclic pattern of fertile and infertile phases during the menstrual cycle. Rhythm traditionally refers to the use of calendar calculations, developed by Ogino and Knaus, based on the lengths of previous menstrual cycles to estimate the days of the fertile phase. Although many couples continue to rely solely on such calculations they do so either because they have been found to be useful in their own situations or because they or their instructors are not aware of the newer methods based on periodic abstinence. It should be noted, however, that the calendar rhythm method has never been subjected to prospective clinical study using a well-developed protocol and subject selection criteria which minimize the chance of method failures resulting from very wide intra-woman variations in the cycle lengths. For example, using the selection criteria established for the WHO multicentre study of the ovulation method12 it would not be surprising to find a theoretical effectiveness rate for the calendar method of 90–95%


Family Planning Menstrual Cycle Cervical Mucus Fertile Period Prospective Multicentre Trial 
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© MTP Press Limited 1984

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  • J. M. Spieler

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