The last NFP conference I attended (2010) lasted several days. My one disappointment, even surprise, was that none of the speakers mentioned the cervix sign, even when discussing the use of NFP during difficult times. Nor was the internal mucus exam mentioned. See last week’s blog on the internal mucus sign.
As I mentioned last week, Dr. Edward Keefe at first taught the mucus sign at the vulva “but it was insufficient, inconstant, and lagged behind the true state of the ovaries according to my patients. Most of them had been ‘rhythm-failures’ many times over and they demanded perfect results.” So he began having his patients obtain the mucus with their fingers at the source, the cervix. Soon his patients were describing changes in the cervix which they observed while doing the internal mucus exam. That is, the women noticed that the cervix was higher and more open and softer when the mucus was most abundant and stretchy.
Dr. Keefe studied their observations for more than 10 years. The women could not understand why the cervix sign was not given more publicity. I feel the same way. Why is the cervix sign ignored by many experts in the field of natural family planning? The internal mucus exam, discussed in the previous blog, is likewise ignored by many in the NFP field.
John visited Dr. Edward Keefe twice at his home after the doctor retired, the last time just a few months before he died. We are grateful for his work and interest in helping couples determine their fertile and infertile times. In addition to his practical research on the cervix and the internal mucus exam, he developed the Ovulindex thermometer which was used by many couples practicing NFP. It is no longer available, but I’m sure there are a few of us who still have one stored somewhere even though we no longer need it. (Quotation from Coverline: “Recollections on Mucus Alone as a Fertility Sign” by Edward F. Keefe, M.D., Spring, 1975)
Both the internal mucus sign and the cervix sign are taught in the NFP International manual highlighted below.
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach