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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2010 Jul;32(7):673-8.

Natural family planning: physicians' knowledge, attitudes, and practice.

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1
Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess physicians' knowledge, attitudes, and practice with respect to four evidence-based natural family planning (NFP) methods: Standard Days, cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and the lactational amenorrhea method.

METHODS:

We undertook a cross-sectional survey of a random sample of family physicians and all gynaecologists in British Columbia (n = 460) who have women of reproductive age in their practice, as well as all affiliated residents (n = 239). Main outcome measures were (1) physicians' attitudes towards NFP and their perceptions of its effectiveness; (2) the relationship between physicians' demographic factors, their personal experience or beliefs, and their attitudes and knowledge; and (3) how these factors affect the counselling physicians offer their patients.

RESULTS:

The survey response rate was 44%. Only 3% to 6% of physicians had correct knowledge of the effectiveness in perfect use of the NFP methods cited in this study. Fifty percent of physicians who responded mention NFP to their patients as an option for contraception, and 77% of physicians mention NFP as an option to couples trying to conceive. Family physicians and residents were much more likely than gynaecologists or gynaecology residents to mention NFP during counselling. Older physicians were more likely to mention NFP than younger physicians and also had more personal experience with NFP.

CONCLUSION:

Most physicians in our study underestimated the effectiveness of NFP methods, and only a small proportion of physicians provide information about NFP during contraceptive counselling. Physicians need better understanding of modern methods of NFP to provide evidence-based contraceptive counselling to selected highly motivated patients who prefer NFP as a contraceptive choice.

PMID:
20707956
DOI:
10.1016/s1701-2163(16)34571-6
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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