I recently found this review article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine entitled “Fertility awareness-based methods: another option for family planning,” written by two family medicine doctors. Since the question of scientific effectiveness inevitably comes up during the first NFP class of each session, I will likely include this to hand out to the participants that are more inquisitive or express doubt in the scientific certainty of the method.
It’s an 11-page review paper that is well-written, concise, and will serve as a better reference than reading all these articles, plus it also compares different methods of NFP, such as basal body temperature methods, observation only methods, and sympto-thermal methods.
What’s great about it too is that it was written from a secular source with an unbiased scientific perspective, since some people are naturally turned off by anything attached to a religious affiliation (which sometimes includes Catholic universities).
Its also interesting to note that there was no funding source attached to this paper. According to the authors, one of the reasons they wrote this is that both doctors noticed an increasing number of young girls coming into their office on the pill suffering from strokes and were motivated to research alternatives to hormonal contraception.
I recommend reading it if you can get access. Here’s the abstract:
Modern fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) of family planning have been offered as alternative methods of family planning. Billings Ovulation Method, the Creighton Model, and the Symptothermal Method are the more widely used FABMs and can be more narrowly defined as natural family planning. The first 2 methods are based on the examination of cervical secretions to assess fertility. The Symptothermal Method combines characteristics of cervical secretions, basal body temperature, and historical cycle data to determine fertility. FABMs also include the more recently developed Standard Days Method and TwoDays Method. All are distinct from the more traditional rhythm and basal body temperature methods alone. Although these older methods are not highly effective, modern FABMs have typical-use unintended pregnancy rates of 1% to 3% in both industrialized and nonindustrialized nations. Studies suggest that in the United States physician knowledge of FABMs is frequently incomplete. We review the available evidence about the effectiveness for preventing unintended pregnancy, prognostic social demographics of users of the methods, and social outcomes related to FABMs, all of which suggest that family physicians can offer modern FABMs as effective means of family planning. We also provide suggestions about useful educational and instructional resources for family physicians and their patients.