According to the World Health Organisation, Natural Family Planning is those “methods of planning and preventing pregnancies by observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle, with avoidance of intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be avoided.”
It is worth remembering that no method of family planning is 100% effective.
Modern methods of Natural Family Planning such as the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) are as effective as the oral contraceptive pill. A large 20 year German study concluding in 2005 revealed that couples following the STM had unplanned pregnancies as low as 0.4% to 0.6% per year. See a summary of their findings here or if you would like to read the full report go to the Oxford Journal – Medicine & Health – Human Reproduction (Vol22 Is5 Pp1310-1319)
Choosing Natural Family Planning (NFP) is about sharing the responsibility to understand, accept and manage your fertility with your partner. By keeping a record of your cycles, interpreting the signs of fertility, and making decisions concerning the timing of sexual intercourse couples can either achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Natural Family Planning offers a couple the chance to communicate and be more open with each other, as family planning decisions are jointly considered and discussed. The open communications, and being aware of your own and your partner’s feelings, can positively benefit your relationship, leading to a deeper understanding of the unique qualities of your individual fertility.
Fertility is a normal part of every person’s life – something to be appreciated and valued. We aim to raise your awareness about the bodily changes associated with fertility and infertility so that you can identify:
- the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, that is , the days of the menstrual cycle when sexual intercourse or genital contact are most likely to result in a pregnancy; and
- the infertile phases of the menstrual cycles, that is, the days of the menstrual cycle when pregnancy is unlikely to occur.
Modern research has shown that NFP is most successfully used when all the available signs and symptoms associated with ovulation are considered, as in the Sympto-Thermal Method.
Research shows that Natural Family Planning is more effective when adequate instruction and guidance have been provided by an accredited body. Accredited NFP Educators have successfully completed, training, approved by the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning Incorporated, and participate in approved ongoing supervision and re-accreditation programmes.
Ongoing contact with an NFP educator is a vital part of learning to use NFP successfully. Our affiliated centres can provide you with ongoing support and contact with an accredited educator.