Thursday, February 22, 2007

something new here?

Okay, this just popped up on the news page when I signed on. I'm frankly perplexed on several counts:

--First off, the "rhythm method" never had anything to do with temperature.
--Second, the basal body temperature method has been in common use (and studied) for I can't recall how long but I think it's been a good half century. Its method effectiveness is pretty high.
--Third, the sympto-thermal method, which combines BBT and other observations, has also been around for decades, and its method effectiveness is pretty high.

So unless Dr. Frank-Hermann has come up with something really far-out and different that wasn't mentioned in the news item, one would have to assume that this is basically the same dog and that the science media have only just noticed the fact that the Temperature method works as a method of natural fertility regulation. I'm sure Dr. Vollmann, whose BBT observations led to some practical applications sometime before WWII, would be pleased.

A new rhythm method developed by German gynecologist Petra Frank-Hermann claims to be as reliable as birth control pills. The Sun newspaper of London reports the technique is 99.6 percent effective provided a couple follows the instructions exactly. The rhythm method--both the old one and this new one--require that a couple abstain from sex with [sic] the woman's menstrual cycle would allow her to become pregnant.

Figuring out exactly when these days occur each month is why the rhythm method has traditionally failed. But Frank-Hermann says in a study of 900 women using her technique correctly, just one in 250 had an unplanned pregnancy per year. Her secret involves a thermometer. Women must frequently take their temperature and measure other body signs.

The downside is that it can take three months to master the technique. "You need a book to learn or have proper teaching. But it's like riding a bike--once you've learnt it you won't forget," she said. Her research was published in the journal Human Reproduction.


Thought I could slack off, darn it, but now I'm gonna have to go try to track down the original article and see what it actually says.

UPDATE: No luck finding the article yet, but a search did turn up a reference to a Frank-Hermann paper title on the sympto-thermal method. Still doesn't look like anything new, though I guess we should all be thankful the natural methods seem to be finally getting a little respect. Did anybody happen to notice the Four Horsemen going by?

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