Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning: A review of effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy using SORT

  • Michael Manhart
  • Marguerite Duane
  • April Lind
  • Irit Sinai
  • Jean Golden-Tevald


Each year, over three-fourths of the women of reproductive age in the United States seek family planning services from primary care clinicians. Women and their doctors should be informed of all effective family planning options and their respective effects on a woman's reproductive health. Family physicians are well-trained to support the behavior choices necessary for the successful adoption of any reversible family planning method. However, many are unfamiliar with fertility awareness-based methods (FABM) of family planning or have misconceptions about their effectiveness, complexity, or suitability for their patients. FABM teach women to observe the physical signs and symptoms that follow hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle to identify a couple's fertile window, which can be used to avoid or achieve pregnancy. One in 5 women in the United States expressed interest in using FABM when informed about such options. When correctly used to avoid pregnancy, modern FABM have unintended pregnancy rates<5 (per 100 women years). Studies of modern FABM show that their typical unintended pregnancy rates are comparable to those of commonly used contraceptives. This article presents a review of the FABM literature to (1) familiarize the reader with the physiological basis and features of modern FABM, (2) present and utilize a framework to evaluate clinical evidence using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT), which supports the effectiveness of modern FABM for avoiding pregnancy, and (3) serve as a resource for health care professionals offering FABM options to their patients.
How to Cite
ManhartM., DuaneM., LindA., SinaiI., and Golden-TevaldJ. “Fertility Awareness-Based Methods of Family Planning: A Review of Effectiveness for Avoiding Pregnancy Using SORT”. Osteopathic Family Physician, Vol. 5, no. 1, 1, pp. 2-8, https://ofpjournal.com/index.php/ofp/article/view/294.
Review Articles
Received 2014-06-12