Natural family planning - Marie Stopes Bangladesh

Natural family planning

Identify when a woman’s body is at its most and least fertile


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Family planning through fertility awareness

Natural family planning can be used both to prevent unplanned pregnancy, and to increase the chance of a pregnancy if a couple has been having difficulty.

There are many different natural methods. Each of these methods uses different signals from a woman’s body to identify the times when she is most fertile and when she is least fertile. A trained professional can teach you to understand these different signals.

Natural methods include those that track regular cervical secretions, those that track a woman’s body temperature, frequent and regular breastfeeding during the first 6 months after birth, and abstinence during certain times of the menstrual cycle.

For natural methods to be effective, a woman needs to have a good understanding of her unique menstrual cycle. To prevent unplanned pregnancy, a woman and her partner should not have sex during the times when she is most fertile.



The effectiveness of natural family planning methods varies by method, and by couple using the method.


Natural planning counselling services are available at all of our clinics.


Please contact our team for more information about pricing.

Withdrawal method

The withdrawal method is when the man withdraws his penis before finishing the sex act.

The man then ejaculates away from the woman’s genital area to prevent pregnancy.

The withdrawal practice requires full cooperation from the male partner. It is also one of the least effective methods of preventing pregnancy as it is difficult to practice correctly all the time. 

Standard days/calendar method

This method involves keeping track of the days of a woman’s menstrual cycle and identifying the start and end of the fertile period.

Couples must abstain from sex or use a contraceptive method on those days. This method is reliable in women with regular menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long.

If one hundred women used the standard days method consistently and correctly and carried on with their normal sex life, five would get pregnant.

However, because this method is difficult to use, as commonly used about 25 women out of one hundred would get pregnant within a year of using this method.

Breastfeeding method

This is a temporary contraceptive method based on the natural effects of breastfeeding on fertility.

The breastfeeding method requires 3 conditions in order to work. All 3 must be met:

  1. The mother’s monthly bleeding has not returned
  2. The baby is fully or nearly fully breastfed and is fed often, day and night
  3. The baby is less than 6 months old.

“Fully breastfeeding” includes both exclusive breastfeeding (the infant receives no other liquid or food, not even water, in addition to breast milk) and almost-exclusive breastfeeding (the infant receives vitamins, water, juice, or other nutrients once in a while in addition to breast milk).

“Nearly fully breastfeeding” means that the infant receives some liquid or food in addition to breast milk, but the majority of feedings (more than three-fourths of all feeds) are breast milk.

Effectiveness of natural family planning methods

If natural family planning methods are used according to instructions, they can be up to 99% effective.

This means that one out of 100 women using natural family planning correctly will get pregnant. It takes commitment and practice to use natural family planning this effectively.

Taking into account the fact that people can make mistakes, forget instructions or that other problems can occur, some estimates suggest that, in reality, natural family planning can be around 75% effective. This means that 25 out of 100 women using natural family planning may get pregnant.

If you decide to use natural family planning, you can reduce your risk of accidental pregnancy by making sure you are taught natural family planning by a suitably qualified teacher, and then making sure you follow their instructions and advice.

Thinking of using natural family planning methods? We recommend booking a consultation to help teach you and your partner the best practices to reduce the risk of accidental pregnancy.