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Natural family planning

In natural family planning, a woman learns how to record fertility signals, such as periods, body temperature and changes in cervical mucus, to identify when she is most and least likely to get pregnant. She can then avoid having sex or use other contraception methods when it's more likely she will get pregnant.

Natural family planning offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

How long does it take to get to grips with?

It can take three to six menstrual cycles to learn these methods and it requires daily monitoring of fertility signals. This method lasts as long as you use it for.

How effective is natural family planning?

If the instructions are properly followed, natural family planning methods are up to 98% effective, depending on what method is used. This means that up to two women in 100 who use natural family planning will get pregnant in 1 year.

Of course, it will be less effective if it's not used exactly according to the instructions. It takes commitment and time to achieve 98% effectiveness and it also means there are times when you must abstain from sex completely or risk pregnancy.

It's also worth noting that stress or illness can also interrupt fertility signs and make this method less effective.

Where can I learn natural family planning?

Natural family planning has to be learned from a specialist teacher who may charge a fee. To find a natural family planning teacher, ask your doctor or contact Fertility Care Scotland.

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For more information call  0800 22 44 88 or use our sexual health service finder to look for help in your area.