Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Kauffman, Russell


natural family planning (NFP), fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs), symptothermal method, natural family planning applications, Marquette method, hormonal contraception


Statement of the problem: Natural family planning methods provide women with an opportunity to use natural methods to plan pregnancy. This is done through daily monitoring of symptoms and biomarker fluctuation in accordance with hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle to identify the fertile window. Through the identification of the fertile window and ovulation, one can determine appropriate days for sexual intercourse. This format allows participants to develop a greater understanding and in-depth knowledge of reproductive health to avoid or achieve pregnancy. The use of natural family planning has greatly increased over the last two decades, growing the demand for clinical practice in applicability and assurance of the efficacy of the methods as a reliable alternative to common clinical practices such as hormonal contraceptives.

Research Question: In sexually active female patients, are natural family planning methods an effective alternative to hormonal contraception in planning pregnancy?

Research Methods: A literature review was performed using the electronic database PubMed. The majority of studies were within the last 14 years, with a preference for ones with more recent data that was not composed of older studies in meta-analysis form. Articles and studies that were excluded include ones that were highlighted in other studies or were published through Catholic sources to avoid bias.

Findings: The majority of studies conclude the Marquette method is the most effective method of NFP (Fehring et al., 2008; Duane et al., 2022; Peragallo et al., 2018; Mu et al., 2022). Other methods like the symptothermal method were found to be less effective than the Marquette method but still more effective than barrier and withdrawal methods (Frank-Herrmann et al., 1991; Bradley et al., 2019). Across the board, the most effective hormonal method of contraception was found to be implants and intrauterine devices and barrier and withdrawal being the least effective methods (Sudaram et al., 2017; Mansour et al., 2010; Bradley et al., 2019). All methods of pregnancy prevention can be found to be less effective when used in a younger and lower socioeconomic status user (Bradley et al., 2019).