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The natural family planning method
Fertility General Gynaecology Obstetrics 


Commonly known as ‘fertility awareness’, the Natural Family Planning (NFP) method if one strategy couples you to manage falling pregnant (or not falling pregnant!). NFP is practiced in Australia using several methods from the Billings method to monitoring one’s calendar. 


What it is

Natural family planning (NFP) method is a method of contraception where a woman daily monitors when she is likely to get pregnant by recognizing the different fertility signs and symptoms that manifest during certain days of her menstrual cycle. Natural family planning methods are rated 76-99% effective.


Types of natural family planning method

The various methods classified under natural family planning method include:

  • The temperature method. This is used because your body temperature slightly rises after ovulation. 
  • Cervical mucous method (Billings method). At different times of your menstrual cycle, the amount and texture of your cervical mucus (mucus in your vagina) changes. 
  • Symptothermal method. You use both temperature and your cervical mucus to determine whether or not you are fertile. You may also combine other symptoms of ovulation such as tender breast, period pain, spotting, etc.
  • Calendar or rhythm method. It works for women with regular periods where they can identify whether they are fertile or not.


Advantages of natural family planning method

  • No side effects
  • Purely natural (no use of chemical or physical products)
  • Acceptable to all cultures and religions
  • Can be used by most women once they are properly taught and trained
  • Can be used either to get or avoid getting pregnant

Disadvantages of natural family planning method

  • Does not protect against STIs
  • Can disrupt sexual life of couples due to abstinence or use of condom during fertile period
  • Is a less effective method of contraception compared to other methods
  • Requires time, commitment, discipline and practice to learn and be accurate in identifying fertility signals.
  • Factors such as stress, illness, lifestyle, medical and hormonal treatments, travel, etc. can disrupt your fertility signs
  • Not suitable for women with irregular periods


Is NFP right for you? The risk of falling pregnant is much higher than other forms of contraceptive interventions. However, it is purely natural and has no side effects… unless you miscalculate and then you might have a major side effect (a baby!).  


You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

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