family planning

Natural Family Planning - Understanding the Importance of Fertility Awareness

  • 4.9   (5 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 08 Dec 2017 - Written by Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Natural Family Planning is one of the effective natural methods to prevent occurrence of pregnancy. Fertility awareness needs to be practiced especially if a couple is not planning to get pregnant. Fertility awareness as birth control is recommended for mature couples. Understand pros and cons of fertility awareness method before going for it.

There are certain Fertility Awareness Methods, which are a smarter way to track the ovulation so that it is easy to prevent pregnancy. These Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs) are also known as natural family planning as well as the rhythm method. It uses body's natural functioning to determine the days in a month when you are most likely to get pregnant and variations include Sympto-thermal method, Ovulation method and the Billings method. You don't have to use any drugs or devices.

The Natural Family Planning method is used as a way of preventing pregnancy as well as to know the most fertile days for getting pregnant.

Methods of Fertility Awareness

There are methods which help in tracking the menstrual cycle so that you know when will your ovaries release an egg every month (i.e. ovulation).

Below are the methods, which help in figuring out the fertile days. You can use any method or combination of any methods for predicting when you are going to ovulate:

1- The Temperature Method: checking the temperature every morning before going out of bed.

2- The Calendar Method: Tracking your menstrual cycle on the calendar.

3- The Cervical Mucus Method: Checking vaginal discharge or cervical mucus every day.

4- The Standard Days Method: It’s a variation on calendar method. Tracking periods for several months to know if the cycle is between 26 and 32 days long and it is not suitable if the cycle is longer or shorter.

How Fertility Awareness Function?

To determine when your body is most fertile, combine the calendar, temperature and cervical mucus methods.

Symptoms of ovulation

Once you are familiar with your body's ovulation and fertile window, then you can easily abstain and prevent any sexual intercourse or can use barrier method.

Effectiveness of Fertility Awareness

There are 90% chances of effectiveness if fertility awareness methods are used correctly and consistently. The chances of effectiveness lies only on your how you track and record the fertility pattern plus abstaining from any sexual activity in those days.

There are no health risks or any side effects linked with natural family planning methods.

Is Fertility Awareness Methods Reversible?

Without any doubt, YES! These methods do not have any side effects on both male and female reproductive functioning.

Cost of Fertility Awareness

It is inexpensive. Through community centers or pregnancy services free training for fertility awareness is usually available.

Sign of ovulation

But one thing need to keep in mind that fertility awareness doesn't provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases.

Other Physical Signs of Ovulation

You can also determine your fertility window by noticing other functions of your body.

Other signs of ovulation include:

1- Changes in the cervix as it will become soft, high and open.

2- Breast tenderness

3- Slight pain on one side of an ovary

These are only secondary signs and one should not rely on these if using fertility awareness method of birth control. So, try to make sure to back them up by analyzing the primary symptoms.

What are the pros and cons of Natural Family Planning Methods?

Everything has its own pros and cons. Similarly, FAMs has its own share of advantages and disadvantages.


1-Methods are effective if used properly and correctly

2- No side effects of these methods

3- Inexpensive or free

4- Reversible

5- No use of drugs, devices, prescriptions or doctor visits

6- Doesn't have estrogen which might increase the heart problems risk

7- Meant for couples who are not planning baby or trying to get pregnant


1- Patience from both partners

2- Demands accurate and consistent record keeping

3- Challenging for women with irregular cycles

4- It requires abstinence or barrier method for at least one third of the month


Hope this helped you with your queries on how to track the ovulation and what are the signs of ovulation. Apart from the basicinformationthis article has also included the methods for tracking ovulation. Follow Ela woman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatments.

Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra

Written by

Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgeon

"Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra is a Laparoscopic Surgeon (Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Gynecologist based in Kolkata. He has nearly 3 decades of experience. He completed his MBBS from Nil Ratan Sircar College and Hospital, Kolkata in 1990. After that, he enrolled himself in Patna Medical College, Patna in 1993 to get a degree in MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He went to Australia to do his Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery from Sydney University in 2005. With a book ""State of the Art of Laparoscopic Suturing"" under his name, he has been in a successful career of performing nearly 2000 Laparoscopic Procedures. He came back to India and became a member of the Indian Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (IAGE). He is very helpful to the patients having High-Risk Pregnancies and Abnormal Vaginal or Menstrual Bleeding. The patients seeking treatment for gynecological problems like Gyne Laparoscopy, Laparoscopic hysterectomy, IUI, and IVF can consult Dr. Mahapatra at Millenium Clinic, Teghoria and Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat, Kolkata. You can get his contact details on"


1.  Top 10 family planning methods which couples can opt to plan their babies  Family Planning, Elawoman - 2017
2.  Things you must know about menstrual cycle and its calculation  menstrual cycle, Elawoman - 2017
3.  Cervical mucus - 4 stages of cervical mucus, how to check it naturally?  cervical mucus, Elawoman - 2017



Fahrukh Khan

Not having on the fertile days really helps. It's the best way of family planning.

Oct. 10, 2018, 11:12 p.m. 5.0


Ese Eunice

Natural family method is risky because if you have irregular cycles then you might have irregular ovulation and it becomes very difficult to track fertile days.

Oct. 9, 2018, 11:30 a.m. 5.0


Rakenya Edmond

The blog is very knowledgable. I have three kids and did not know so much science behind fertility and ovulation.

Sept. 20, 2018, 10:32 p.m. 5.0


Nishtha Rai

I keep track of my cycles every month. I use Ela app and also look out for physical changes in the body. And always when in doubt, the best way is to use contraceptives to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

June 1, 2018, 9:43 a.m. 5.0


Borkar Wasudeo Raghoji

This is the best way as it keeps the chemicals away from the body.

April 16, 2018, 3:54 a.m. 4.5

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