Epidemiological studies of natural family planning

R. H. Gray, R. T. Kambic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The prevalence of the use of natural family planning (NFP) can be estimated from sample surveys of married women in the reproductive ages (MWRA). Surveys in developed and developing countries during the past decade indicate that the prevalence of NFP use varies from 0 to 11%. In addition, if one considers NFP use in relation to other contraceptive methods, the percentage of all current contraceptors who use NFP varies from 1 to 35%. This suggests that NFP is an important method in certain countries. Pregnancy rates for NFP vary widely, but most reliable studies report 1-year life-table pregnancy rates between 10 and 25/100 woman-years. The Billings ovulation method consistently has higher pregnancy rates than the sympo-thermal method and NFP users generally have among the highest pregnancy rates compared to other methods. The major safety issue concerning NFP is the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes associated with aged gametes. There are suggestions from a number of investigations that conceptions distant from ovulation have a higher risk of spontaneous abortion and a higher proportion of male births. The findings with respect to birth defects or multiple pregnancies are less consistent, although some studies have reported an increased risk of chromosomal anomalies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-698
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1988


  • Epidemiological studies
  • Natural family planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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