Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Natural family planning (NFP) helps you plan your pregnancy without using medication or devices. It is natural since birth control pills, injectables, condoms, patches, and other contraceptives are not used. Instead, it mainly involves monitoring the woman’s menstrual cycle.
The usual NFP methods are: mucus or ovulation, basal body temperature, and rhythm. These methods are often combined The mucus or ovulation method entails the woman to track her cervical secretions. If she does not want to get pregnant, she must not have unprotected sexual contact when her cervical mucus is clear and stretchy, like that of an uncooked egg white.
The basal body temperature (BBT) method requires the woman to keep track of her daily basal body temperature with a BBT-specific thermometer which may be inserted into the rectum, vagina, or mouth. It is not recommended to have sexual contact when the woman’s temperature rises as this marks the ovulation period. Rhythm method requires the woman to track her menstrual cycle for at least six months. The formula is subtracting 18 from the shortest cycle and 11 from the longest cycle. For instance, when a woman’s shortest cycle is 26 days and her longest is 32, she should not have unprotected sex from days 8 to 21 to prevent unplanned pregnancy. All of these methods, if followed conscientiously, provide a reasonably high level of protection from unplanned pregnancies. However, there are also many factors that can effect a woman's cycle thus rendering these methods less than 100% effective.