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New Natural Family Planning Options Are A Natural Fit For Nurse-Midwives

Armen Hareyan's picture

Family Planning Methods and Option

In a paper published in the November issue of the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, researchers from Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health report that new highly effective, easy-to-use natural family planning methods are a good fit for the holistic healthcare approach practiced by nurse-midwives. Traditionally, natural methods have been under-represented among the family planning options offered to women by nurse-midwives because these methods require lengthy instruction and are difficult for many women to learn and use.

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Nurse-midwifery is known for its holistic approach to the care of women, especially during labor and birth. Yet the vast majority of visits to certified nurse-midwives/certified midwives (CNMs/CMs) are for primary, preventive care including gynecologic care, annual exams and reproductive health visits, especially prenatal care. The midwifery model of care embraces a philosophy that all women have the right to complete and accurate information about their bodies and the health care services they receive; the right to make choices and decisions about their care; as well as the right to care that respects human dignity, individuality and diversity according to the American College of Nurse Midwives.

Offering natural family planning methods, also known as fertility awareness-based methods, to their clients fits well with the philosophy of nurse-midwives and the needs of the women they serve according to Victoria Jennings, Ph.D. senior author of the paper, Director of the Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and co-author Elaine Germano, CNM, DrPH, FACNM, a former Nurse-Midwifery Program Director at Georgetown University report.

"Our goal in developing new natural methods is to meet the needs of the many women who want to manage their own fertility without hormones or devices but without the burden of daily monitoring and charting required by older natural methods. These new methods are effective as well as easy to teach, learn and use. They fit well into busy midwifery practices and are truly a viable family planning option," said Dr. Jennings, an anthropologist who studies reproductive health behavior.

The two new natural family planning methods, developed by the Georgetown University researchers, are the Standard Days Method and the Two Day Method, which are 95% and 98% effective respectively