1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

By

Updated August 09, 2011

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning

Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey
Definition: Natural family planning (NFP) or fertility awareness is a natural birth control method as well as an approach to use when trying to become pregnant. Natural family planning contraceptive methods do not require medication, physical devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. Natural family planning relies on a woman’s fertility awareness of her body's natural functioning to determine the timing of her ovulation and her fertile period. Natural family planning methods include monitoring and tracking certain changes that occur in a woman’s body in order to try to predict her most fertile time.

Fertility awareness methods require training, commitment, discipline, and determination in order to be effective. Cooperation is necessary by both partners who should be in a stable, monogamous relationship. Some couples choose natural family planning for religious reasons while others may be allergic to latex options like latex condoms (although there are latex-free condoms) and diaphragms. Also, woman may prefer this option because they cannot tolerate hormonal contraceptive options. The average effectiveness rate of all the various fertility awareness methods:

  • Typical use: 77-88% effective
  • Perfect use: 95-98% effective
  • Of every 100 women who use one of the NFP methods, 12-23 will become pregnant within the first year (with typical use) and 2-5 will become pregnant with perfect use.
Also Known As: fertility awareness, natural birth control, periodic abstinence and natural pregnancy prevention

Methods Include: standard days method, calendar method, Billings method, ovulation method, cervical mucus, basal body temperature and symptothermal method

Examples:
Couples who do not wish to use birth control devices or medications can choose natural family planning as a way to prevent pregnancy. Women can also use NFP when trying to maximize their chances of becoming pregnant.

Has your iPhone become an essential part of your life? If so, why not use it to assist in Natural Family Planning by charting fertility?

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.