HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CYCLE?
Natural planning – sometimes referred to as fertility awareness – is a technique of tracking exactly which stage of the menstrual cycle you are in, and only having sex on non-fertile days. There are a number of ways of doing this, and a number of fertility signs that you need to be aware of, including fluctuations in your body's temperature and changes in the cervical mucus. Due to the amount of planning required with this method, it isn't the best for those who are disorganized, forgetful, or spontaneous.
While there are many tools available to help you keep track, from physical calendars to digital apps, natural planning requires an intimate and detailed knowledge of your menstrual cycle. To have a better chance of avoiding pregnancy on the days when you are ovulating, it is advised that you use a barrier method such as male condoms, female condoms, or a diaphragm, to improve your chances of not conceiving. Natural planning is a popular choice for those who don't wish to use chemical or hormonal contraceptives, and if you do decide to get pregnant in the future, all that fertility tracking can be a great help.
Natural family planning does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
Typical use means how well the method works in real life and perfect use means how well a method works under 'perfect' or ideal conditions for example when there is no user error at any time.
EFFICACY WITH PERFECT USE
Natural Family Planning is 95% effective with "perfect use" meaning that 5 women out of every 100 using this method for one year will become pregnant.
Natural planning is entirely self-directed and if done perfectly, it can be an effective method of contraception. To improve its efficacy however, it is advisable to use a barrier method at any time you might be ovulating.
EFFICACY WITH TYPICAL USE
Natural family planning is 76% effective with “typical use” meaning that 24 women out of every 100 using this method for one year will become pregnant.
Natural planning is entirely self-directed. There is a lot of room for error, and none of us are perfect. Your cycle may also be disrupted by any number of factors, so even if your planning is perfect, it is a less effective method of contraception.
No. Natural planning is hormone-free.
Ease of Use
Natural planning methods vary in terms of how much attention they need, but it’s important to be aware of fertile days and to use additional contraception on these days.
Natural planning has no impact on menstruation.
NEED ADVICE? SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL
Seek out an appointment with your doctor or nurse for further support that meets your needs.