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  1. 1
    090127

    Natural family planning: effective birth control supported by the Catholic Church.

    Ryder RE

    BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1993 Sep 18; 307(6906):723-6.

    The Catholic Church approves the use of natural family planning (NFP) methods. Many people think only of the rhythm method when they hear NFP so they perceive NFP methods to be unreliable, unacceptable, and ineffective. They interpret the Catholic Church's approval of these methods as its opposition to birth control. The Billings or cervical mucus method is quite reliable and effective. Rising estrogen levels coincide with increased secretion of cervical mucus, which during ovulation is relatively thin and contains glycoprotein fibrils in a micelle like structure aiding sperm migration. Ultrasonography confirms that the day of most abundant secretion of fertile-type eggs white mucus is the day of ovulation. Once progesterone begins to be secreted, cervical mucus becomes thick and rubbery and acts like a plug in the cervix. Other symptoms associated with ovulation include periovulatory pain and postovulatory rise in basal body temperature. A WHO study of 869 fertile women from Australia, India, Ireland, the Philippines, and El Salvador found 93% could accurately interpret the ovulatory mucus pattern, regardless of education and culture. The probability of pregnancy among women using the cervical mucus method and having intercourse outside the fertile period was .004. The probability of conception increased the closer couples were to the fertile period when they had intercourse (.546 on -3 to -1 peak day and .667 on peak day 0), regardless of education and culture. The failure rate of NFP among mainly poor women in Calcutta, India, equal that of the combined oral contraceptive (0.2/100 women users yearly). Poverty was the motivating factor. NFP costs nothing, is effective (particularly in poverty stricken areas), has no side effects, and grants couples considerable power to control their fertility, indicating the NFP may be the preferred family planning method in developing countries. Prejudices about NFP should be dropped and worldwide dissemination of NFP information should occur.
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  2. 2
    042029

    [The Church, the Family and Responsible Parenthood in Latin America: a Meeting of experts] Iglesia, Familia y Paternidad Responsable en America Latina: Encuentro de Expertos.

    Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano [CELAM]

    Bogota, Colombia, CELAM, 1977. (Documento CELAM No. 32.)

    This document is the result of a meeting organized by the Department of the Laity of the Latin American Episcopal Council on the theme of the Church, Family, and Responsible Parenthood. 18 Latin American experts in various disciplines were selected on the basis of professional competence and the correctness of their philosophical and theological positions in the eyes of the Catholic Church to study the problem of responsible parenthood in Latin America and to recommend lines of action for a true family ministry in this area. The work consists of 2 major parts: 12 presentations concerning the sociodemographic, philosophical-theological, psychophysiological, and educational aspects of responsible parenthood, and conclusions based on the work and the meetings. The 4 articles on sociodemographic aspects discuss the demographic problem in Latin America, Latin America and the demographic question in the Conference of Bucharest, maturity of faith in Christ expressed in responsible parenthood, and social conditions of responsible parenthood in Peruvian squatter settlements. The 3 articles on philosophical and theological aspects concern conceptual foundations of neomalthusian theory, pastoral attitudes in relation to responsible parenthood, and pastoral action regarding responsible parenthood. 2 articles on psychophysiological aspects discuss the couple and methods of fertility regulation and the gynecologist as an advisor on psychosexual problems of reproduction. Educational aspects are discussed in 3 articles on sexual pathology and education, education for responsible parenthood, and the Misereor-Carvajal Program of Family Action in Cali, Colombia. The conclusions are the result of an interdisciplinary effort to synthesize the major points of discussion and agreements on principles and actions arrived at in each of the 4 areas.
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  3. 3
    028322

    The Billings method of family planning: an assessment.

    Betts K

    Studies in Family Planning. 1984 Nov-Dec; 15(6/1):253-66.

    This paper critically analyzes claims for the effectiveness of the Billings method of natural family planning and raises questions about the wisdom of actively promoting this method. The Billings method, developed in Australia, is based on client interpretation of changing patterns of cervical mucus secretion. Evaluation of the method's use-effectiveness has been hindered by its supporters' insistence on distinguishing between method and user failures and by the unreliability of data on sexual activities. However, the findings in 5 large studies aimed at investigating the biological basis of the Billings method provide little support for the claims that most fertile women always experience mucus symptoms, that these symptoms precede ovulation by at least 5 days, and that a peak symptom coincides with the day of ovulation. Although many women do experience a changing pattern of mucus symptoms, these changes do not mark the fertile period with sufficient reliability to form the basis for a fully effective method of fertility control. In addition, the results of 5 major field trials indicate that the Billings method has a biological failure rate even higher than the symptothermal method. Pearl pregnancy rates ranged from 22.2-37.2/100 woman-years, and high discontinuation rates in both developed and developing countries were found. Demand for the method was low even in developing countries where calendar rhythm and withdrawal are relatively popular methods of fertility control, suggesting that women of low socioeconomic status may prefer a method that does not require demanding interaction with service providers and acknowledgment of sexual activity. The Billings method is labor-intensive, requiring repeated client contact over an extended time period and high administrative costs, even when teachers are volunteers. It is concluded that although natural family planning methods may make a useful contribution where more effective methods are unavailable or unacceptable, many of the claims made for the Billings method are unsubstantiated by scientific evidence.
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  4. 4
    015322

    [The Billings method] El metodo de Billings.

    Temas de Poblacion. 1981 May; 7(12):14.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has financed a study of the Billings method of family planning in 3 developing and 2 developed countries to obtain objective data on the effectiveness of the method. Although 40% of the 870 couples had previously used another abstinence method and all were highly motivated to use the technique, the life-table pregnancy rate for the year following training in the method reached 20%. 11 studies of the cervical mucus method have been carried out in India, Tonga, Colombia, and Chile and in the US and Australia, often in new programs which did not employ uniform teaching methods. 2 Indian studies showed pregnancy rates of under 6/100 woman years, while 2 studies in developed countries showed rates under 15 and 2 showed rates over 30/100 woman years. Most of the studies have attributed the high pregnancy rates to the failure of couples to observe abstinence. Pregnancy occurred in the 5 countries partcipating in the WHO studies primarily as a result of the failure of couples to abstain from sexual relations during periods identified as fertile, despite active promotion of natural family planning and assistance from instructors at monthly intervals. Other reasons for the high failure rate were late occurrance of mucus flow relative to the time of ovulation, overly early appearance of mucus, and failure to observe or to interpret correctly the mucus symptom. Mucus patterns and facility of interpretation can be affected by various physiological or psychological factors, such as vaginal or cervical infection, vaginal secretion due to sexual stimulation, medicines, tension, and illness. The common observation of higher pregnancy rates among couples who wish to postpone rather than prevent a birth appears to be particularly important in the case of abstinence methods.
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