Natural methods of family planning (NFP) do not interfere with a person's health in any way like other methods of family planning do. Other artificial family planning methods may have long-term effects on your fertility, while with natural family planning, such effects don't arise. 

The pill, for example, has certain benefits but along with the benefits, it also has side effects. In addition, if you forget to take the pill, the chances of pregnancy are higher. 

Condoms act as a barrier while making love, and tend to diminish pleasure. With natural family planning, this does not arise.

How effective is it?

This method of family planning is not 100% effective. In fact, the only methods of contraception that are 100% effective are:
1. Total abstinence
2. Removal of the ovaries
3. Castration
Vasectomy and tubal ligation have very low failure rates and are almost 100% effective, but not quite. 14 out of every 10,000 vasectomies, 4 out of every 10,000 tubal ligations, result in pregnancies.

Do I need to have a regular cycle?

You need not necessarily have a regular cycle for this method to be effective, though if your cycle is completely skewed, you could consider another method of birth control. But even if you are a little irregular, you can tell when you are ovulating because of the discharge of cervical mucus. So, you can avoid having sex during this time. If you are regular with your period, natural family planning is 98% effective.

How can I tell when I am fertile?

As men are normally always fertile, this method of family planning depends on when the woman is fertile, and having intercourse when the woman is not fertile. So how can you tell when a woman is fertile? A woman is fertile when she discharges cervical mucus. The mucus has a consistency of raw egg-white. After ovulation, the mucus disappears. Other signs include a slight rise in a woman's body temperature when she wakes up in the morning. This is best measured with a Basal Body Thermometer, as the rise is often just 0.5 degrees. She may also get a feeling called ovulation pain.

What advantages does this method of family planning have over others? 

The natural method of family planning helps build the foundation for a better marriage because a certain amount of healthy abstinence is introduced in the relationship. It also helps develop self-control. In addition, it is a method done and discussed together. Both partners keep a tab on the wife's menstrual cycle, and both are involved in this method of family planning. By keeping a tab of the wife's cycle, any irregularity can immediately be noticed, and the doctor can be alerted. However, if the cycle is being regulated by the pill, any health issues may go unnoticed. 

Before practicing natural family planning yourself, you should consult your gynecologist for further information. Certain doctors are skeptical about the effectiveness of this method, as doctors tend to be of any natural methods. There are courses held throughout the world, which coach couples to practice natural family planning effectively. It must be remembered that this method not the rhythm method of birth control, and is more scientific and effective.
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