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What is natural family planning?

Dr Louisa Draper

"Natural family planning is very reliable when it is practised correctly. You have to understand your cycle and monitor the signs of fertility very closely."

Dr Louisa Draper

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Natural family planning is a type of contraception which does not rely on any contraceptives but your awareness of your fertility. Couples who use the fertility awareness method track the woman’s cycle and they only have sex on days when conception is unlikely.


  • you have no side effects
  • you can stop using the method at any time and get pregnant straight away

  • you can’t have sex whenever you want (unless you also use a barrier method on fertile days)
  • in reality, it is less effective than the condom or a contraceptive pill
  • it does not protect you against STIs
  • you have to track your signs of fertility on a daily basis
  • it is not suitable for women with an irregular cycle
  • it is not suitable for women for whom a pregnancy could be dangerous
  • it is not suitable for women whose baby would be at risk of illness if they were to get pregnant (for example if you are taking any medications which can cause birth defects)