What is it?

Being aware of and recognising your most fertile times, using the menstrual cycle (the time from the first day of a period until the day before the next period starts), can allow you to both plan and avoid pregnancy. You can do this by monitoring and recording natural signs each day of your menstrual cycle, including:

  • your body temperature when you wake up.
  • cervical secretions (cervical mucus).
  • How long your menstrual cycle lasts.

How effective is NFP?

If used according to teaching and instructions, NFP methods are up to 98% effective. NFP is best taught by a specialist NFP teacher in order for it to be effective. Both partners must be motivated, follow the instructions carefully, and avoid intercourse during the fertile times.

What are the advantages of NFP?

  • Using fertility awareness you can plan a pregnancy as well as avoid a pregnancy.
  • You do not have to use any chemicals or physical devices.
  • Encourages good communication between partners.
  • There are no side-effects.
  • If you are instructed well and follow the instructions it is effective.
  • You become more aware of your body’s fertility signs.
  • It is accepted by most faiths and cultures.

What are the disadvantages of NFP?

  • It takes three to six menstrual cycles to learn effectively.
  • You have to keep notes daily.
  • It is difficult to use if your periods are irregular.
  • Illness, stress and travel can make fertility indicators harder to read.
  • You need to avoid intercourse (or use a barrier method) during fertile times. This is usually for two weeks every cycle.
  • For this method to be successful, both partners need to be very committed to the method.
  • Natural methods don’t protect you against sexually transmitted infections.

Where can I get information on NFP?

If you decide to use NFP you will need good instruction. GPs, GUM clinics and family planning clinics often don’t teach NFP. If you need help to find your local teacher, contact: Fertility UK at or try the Family Planning Association at for more detailed information on NFP.