Natural Family Planning

What is natural family planning?

Natural family planning (NFP) is a way to prevent or plan a pregnancy. NFP helps you understand your body's rhythms to learn when you are most likely to get pregnant each month.

What are the NFP methods?

  • Symptothermal method: You will need to buy a basal body thermometer at the store. Take your basal body temperature (BBT) before you get out of bed in the morning. Keep track of your BBT. It will increase when you ovulate. You are more likely to get pregnant when your body temperature is higher.

  • Cervical mucus discharge: Discharge is clear, slippery, and stretchy when you ovulate. The amount is also higher than usual. Discharge is thick, sticky, and cloudy when you are not ovulating. Check your cervical mucus each day to learn when you ovulate.

  • Calendar, or rhythm, method: Count the number of days between your periods. This will tell you when you ovulate. This method can work if the number of days in your cycle is the same each month.

What else do I need to know about NFP?

The success of NFP depends on how well you measure your menstrual cycle. You will need to learn the exact timing of your cycle and follow it closely. Your menstrual cycle can be affected by any of the following:

  • Changes in exercise habits

  • Caffeine or unhealthy foods

  • Stress, depression, and anxiety

  • Health problems or illness

  • Increasing age

  • Weight gain or loss

What are the risks of not following NFP correctly?

  • You may become pregnant when you do not want to.

  • It may be hard to know when you are fertile.

  • If you have irregular monthly periods, the NFP method is not as accurate.

  • This method does not decrease your risk for a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have questions or concerns about NFP.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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