Natural family planning in the Philippines

Laing, J.E.

Studies in Family Planning 15(2): 49-61


ISSN/ISBN: 0039-3665
PMID: 6710549
DOI: 10.2307/1966046
Document Number: 246166
The calendar rhythm method of natural family planning (NFP) is one of the most popular contraceptive methods in the Philippines. As a result, the Philippines has one of the highest NFP prevalence rates in the developing world. In recent years, family planning program officials have become increasingly interested in improving the practice of NFP, both by improving the quality of rhythm practice and by introducing newer, more acurate NFP methods. Over the years, a substantial body of research data related to NFP practice in the Philippines has accumulated. During the 1968-78 period, the proportion of married women aged 15-44 who said that they had ever tried the rhythm method rose from 9 to 23%. Rhythm users have relied more on nonprogram sources than on program personnel for instruction in the rhythm method. The rate of continuation was very similar for pill and rhythm users. Rhythm plus withdrawal was as likely to be continued as the IUD and as use-effective in preventing accidental pregnancy as the pill. Even though rhythm alone has been less effective in reducing fertility than pills, it has been more effective than either withdrawal or condoms. The main reasons for preferring the rhythm method over any other method were medical, (absence of side effects, pain or halth dangers) and convenience, (no need to get supplies, have an insertion, or interrupt the sex act). Problems associated with the rhythm method are the difficulty of abstaining during the unsafe days, and its in applicability during post-partum amenorrhea. In recent years, the attention of family planning program managers has been increasingly directed toward the need to improve NFP instruction and practice. Future research is directed towards the study of parish-based volunteer workers to instruct couples in calendar rhythm, demographic surveys and tests of program strategies.

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