iStock_000002812809XSmallWhat is NFP?

NFP stands for Natural family Planning.

The United Nations defines it as:

“Methods for planning and preventing pregnancies by observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle, with the avoidance of intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be avoided. No drugs, devices or surgical procedures are used to prevent pregnancy.”

Interesting Statistics

  • 43% of women were interested in learning about NFP (Stanford, 1994)
  • 24% of women said they were likely to use NFP to avoid pregnancy (Stanford, 1994)
  • 32% of women said they would use NFP to achieve pregnancy (Stanford, 1994)
  • Approximately 4% of women of reproductive age use NFP to avoid pregnancy in the U.S.A. (Breuner, 2005)
  • 1 in 5 women expressed interest in using NFP to avoid pregnancy but only 1-3% of women are currently using it for this purpose (Pallone, 2009)
  • NFP was used by 59.2% of women after having used other contraceptives such as oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices or both (De Leizaola-C, 1995)
  • In China the Billings Ovulation Method has been used by over 2.6 million fertile couples with over 36,000 teachers and 14 clinic sites with an overall success rate at avoiding pregnancy of 99% (Qian, 2003)
  • 93% of women were able to record and interpret their cervical mucus pattern (Guida, 1997)
  • Only 1.3% of women failed to learn how to interpret changes in their mucus secretions (Guida, 1997)
  • The users of contraceptives account for almost 50% of the induced abortions that occur in the U.S.A. (Segal, 1996)
  • In the UK, 1 out of 3 births are unplanned and about 20% of all conceptions end in legal abortion (Segal, 1996)
  • The average amount of time doctors and nurses spend learning about NFP in university is less than 1 hour (Fehring, 2002)
  • In Canada, 8% of couples are infertile at one year, however once removing surgically sterilized couples 16% of couples cannot conceive after one year (Tham, 2012)
  • 72-98% of couples were satisfied using NFP methods (Boy, 1988)
  • 83% of women and 53% of men reported no difficulty with abstinence (Boy, 1988)
  • The number of times couples have sexual intercourse per month ranges from 2.6-8.9 acts with an average of 5.5 acts (Pallone, 2009)
  • NFP couples have sex on average 5.1-5.6 acts per month (Pallone, 2009)
1) Boys, G.A. (1988). Factors affecting client satisfaction in the instruction and usage of natural methods. International Journal of Fertility, (Suppl.), 59-64.
2) Breuner CC. Natural contraception. Adolesc Med Clin. 2005 Oct;16(3):603-16.
3) De Leizaola-Cordonnier A. Natural family planning effectiveness in Belgium. Adv Contracept. 1995 Jun;11(2):165-72.
4) Fehring RJ. Accuracy of the peak day of cervical mucus as a biological marker of fertility. Contraception. 2002 Oct;66(4):231-5.
5) Guida M, Tommaselli GA, Pellicano M, Palomba S, Nappi C. An overview on the effectiveness of natural. Gynecol Endocrinol. 1997 Jun;11(3):203-19.
6) Pallone SR, Bergus GR. Fertility awareness-based methods: another option for family planning. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009 Mar-Apr;22(2):147-57.
7) Qian SZ. China successfully launching Billings Ovulation Method. Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China. Available at: accessed on July 11, 2013.
8) Stanford JB, Lemaire JC, Fox A. Interest in natural family planning among female family practice patients. Fam Pract Res J. 1994 Sep;14(3):237-49.
9) Segal SJ. Contraceptive development and better family planning. Bull N Y Acad Med. 1996 Summer;73(1):92-104.
10) Tham E, Schliep K, Stanford J. Natural procreative technology for infertility and recurrent miscarriage: outcomes in a Canadian family practice. Can Fam Physician. 2012 May;58(5):e267-74.
11) WHO. Natural Family Planning: A Guide to Provision of Services,  Geneva, CH.1988. available at: accessed on: June 17, 2013.

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