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Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Natural Family Planning refers to a variety of methods used to plan or prevent pregnancy, based on identifying the woman's fertile days. For all natural methods, avoiding unprotected intercourse during the fertile days is what prevents pregnancy. Natural methods are sometimes called Fertility Awareness-Based methods
What is Natural Family Planning?
New Simple Methods of Natural
Other Natural Family Planning
Effectivess of Natural Family
of Natural Family Planning Methods
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning refers to a variety of methods used to plan or prevent pregnancy, based on identifying the woman's fertile days. For all natural methods, avoiding unprotected intercourse during the fertile days is what prevents pregnancy. Natural methods are sometimes called fertility awareness-based methods.
The effectiveness and significant advantages of NFP address the needs of diverse populations with varied religious and ethical beliefs. They also provide an alternative for women who want to use natural methods for medical or personal reasons.
New Simple Methods of Natural Family Planning
The Standard Days MethodTM
that it involves no calculation or observation makes the Standard Days
Method easy for service providers to teach and for women to learn and use.
To avoid pregnancy, the woman should not have unprotected intercourse during
the fertile window.
Analysis of a large data set of women's menstrual cycles from a World Health Organization study reveals that the fertile window is on days 8 to 19 for women whose cycle lengths range from 26 – 32 days.
A color-coded string of beads, called Cycle Beads™, are used to help women keep track of the days of their menstrual cycle and see which days they are likely to get pregnant if they had unprotected intercourse.
If the woman notices any secretions on the current or previous day, then she is probably fertile and should not have unprotected intercourse to avoid pregnancy.
If she notices no secretions on either day, then she is not fertile.
Couples who wish to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse from the onset of cervical mucus symptom until three days after the last day of fertile-type secretions.
Body Temperature (BBT)
The body temperature is lower before ovulation and rises slightly to about .2 degrees Celsius or .4 degrees Fahrenheit after ovulation.
Couples who wish to avoid a pregnancy abstain from intercourse from the onset of menses until three days after the woman's basal body temperature has risen, to about .2 degrees Celsius or .4 degrees Fahrenheit, signifying the end of the fertile phase.
Couples who wish to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse during the fertile period identified by all of the fertility indicators.
Effectiveness of Natural Family Planning Methods
Successful use of natural methods to prevent pregnancy depends upon:
of unintended pregnancy, which is basic to the study of effectiveness of any
family planning method, has been much debated by NFP experts. While there is
clearly a range of opinion on the validity of differentiating between
intended and unintended pregnancies, identifying a couple's reproductive
interaction is essential for studying and providing accurate information
Couples who use natural methods correctly to prevent pregnancy have only a 1% to 9% chance of becoming pregnant during one year of use, depending on which method they use.
Couples who do not use their method correctly—that is, they have intercourse on days when the method's guidelines tell them that the woman is fertile—-have a much greater chance of unintended pregnancy.
The following is the probability of pregnancy for women using natural methods:
Advantages of Natural Family Planning Methods
Women and couples using NFP frequently cite advantages including:
Last updated: 1-30-03
2002 Institute for Reproductive Health and Georgetown University