Natural family planning

Am Fam Physician. 2012 Nov 15;86(10):924-8.


Natural family planning methods provide a unique option for committed couples. Advantages include the lack of medical adverse effects and the opportunity for participants to learn about reproduction. Modern methods of natural family planning involve observation of biologic markers to identify fertile days in a woman's reproductive cycle. The timing of intercourse can be planned to achieve or avoid pregnancy based on the identified fertile period. The current evidence for effectiveness of natural family planning methods is limited to lower-quality clinical trials without control groups. Nevertheless, perfect use of these methods is reported to be at least 95 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The effectiveness of typical use is 76 percent, which demonstrates that motivation and commitment to the method are essential for success. Depending on the method, couples can learn about natural family planning methods in a single office visit, through online instruction, or from certified instructors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Natural Family Planning Methods / methods*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers