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Natural Family Planning


Natural family planning

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

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have questions or concerns about natural family planning.

Natural family planning methods:

  • The symptothermal method means you will chart your daily body temperature. You will need to buy a basal body thermometer at the store. Take your basal body temperature before you get out of bed in the morning. Keep track of each reading. Your basal body temperature will increase when you ovulate. You are more likely to get pregnant when it is higher.
  • The cervical mucus discharge method means you will check your cervical mucus each day. 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.
  • The calendar, or rhythm, method means you will 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. If you have irregular monthly periods, the natural family planning method is not as accurate.

What else you need to know about natural family planning:

  • Natural family planning does not decrease your risk for a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • The success of natural family planning 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

Risks of not following natural family planning correctly:

  • You may become pregnant when you do not want to.
  • It may be hard to know when you are fertile.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.