Overview of Fertility Awareness
& Natural Family Planning

Understanding fertility
Fertility and reproductive health are largely neglected areas in health education. This ignorance and the lack of easily available accurate information about the increasingly popular natural methods of family planning, means that women are frequently denied the full range of family planning choices.

The results of a survey carried out in 1993 in six Western European countries found that the majority of women lacked knowledge concerning basic facts about menstruation, fertility and pregnancy.

  • One fifth of women had no idea what was happening when their periods started.

  • There was misunderstanding regarding the process of ovulation and the timing of conception.

  • In the UK, one third of the women questioned believed that :
    'ovulation occurs during menstruation'.

  • The number of fertile days in the menstrual cycle was over estimated.
    In the UK, 21% of women thought that :
    'there were more than 21 fertile days'
    (the average number is 7)
More - WISE Report

Family planning is not only concerned with avoiding pregnancy. It should aim to provide the means for couples to choose whether and when to have a baby, give information about birth-spacing and infertility advice, where appropriate.

The ideal method of family planning should not be damaging to health or fertility, and should not affect the enjoyment of the sexual relationship.

Most women rely on medical advice when looking for a method of family planning. It is usually the woman who makes the decisions, although the Wise Report showed that the majority of women would prefer to share the decision-making with their partner.

What is fertility awareness?

Why is fertility awareness important?

Fertility Awareness is relevant throughout a woman‘s fertile life -

What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
Natural methods of family planning use fertility awareness to identify the fertile and infertile phases of a woman‘s menstrual cycle. This involves observing the natural signs and symptoms or clinical indicators of fertility.

NFP can help to plan pregnancy:
As many as one couple in six experience some difficulty in conceiving. Fertility Awareness can help couples to maximise their chances of conception, by recognising signs of fertility and optimising the timing of intercourse.

Planning Pregnancy

NFP can be used to avoid pregnancy:
Couples learn to identify the fertile and infertile phases of the cycle and to abstain from intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be avoided. This method requires observation of more than one clinical indicator of fertility - a multiple index approach - usually a combination of waking temperature and cervical mucus. This ensures the highest degree of efficiency in avoiding pregnancy.

Efficiency - When motivated couples are taught by experienced teachers, natural methods can be up to 98% effective. (Range 85-98% effective - FPA 1996)


Avoiding Pregnancy

Advantages and disadvantages of natural family planning

Advantages of NFP


Where do I go to learn NFP?

Fertility Awareness may be given as part of Well-Woman health checks, or through local medical and family planning services. Where these services are not known locally contact us for details of your local NFP Teacher. We maintain a database of experienced teachers to support you with all aspects of Fertility Awareness and NFP.

Contact ‘FertilityUK‘

HomeReturn to the picture of Pete and Linda on GreenPond NJ Explore Nature's way of spacing the family?Breast-feeding
IntroductionIntroduction to Fertility Awareness and a Site Map Education
Fertility Awareness Training
Physiology Newsletter
Indicators of Fertility Questions
Planning Pregnancy Contacts
Avoiding Pregnancy Miscellaneous

Information contained here is for interest only.
To use this method effectively - a full course of instruction by a recognised NFP teacher is vital!

‘FertilityUK‘ - The National Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning Service UK,