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For further information, see CMDT Part 18-10: Contraception

Key Features

  • Periodic abstinence during fertile periods

    • Most effective when intercourse restricted to postovular phase of cycle or barrier method used at other times

    • Women should identify fertile periods (see Infertility, Female)

  • "Symptothermal" natural family planning

    • Patient-observed increase in clear elastic cervical mucus, brief abdominal midcycle discomfort ("mittelschmerz")

    • Unprotected intercourse is avoided from shortly after the menstrual period until 48 h after ovulation, as identified by a sustained rise in temperature and the disappearance of clear elastic mucus

  • Basal body temperature method shows the safe time for intercourse after ovulation has passed

    • Take temperature immediately upon awakening, before any activity

    • A slight drop in temperature often occurs 12–24 h before ovulation, and a rise of about 0.4°C occurs 1–2 days after ovulation

    • The risk of pregnancy increases starting 5 days before the day of ovulation, peaks on the day of ovulation, and then rapidly decreases to zero by the day after ovulation

  • The Standard Days Method

    • Uses a set of beads to remind the couple to avoid intercourse during days 8 through 19 of the cycle

    • Typical use failure rate may be about 12%

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