Fertility Awareness Methods

These methods require you to map your reproductive and sexual health and to avoid having sex on certain days in your menstrual cycle.
Fertility Awareness Methods
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Street names Natural Planning, Rhythm method
Medical names Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Symptothermal methods, Billings method, Calendar Method
Effectiveness 75% to 99.6% ?
It lasts Needs to be considered every time you have sex
Fertility No effect
Who can use it? People with a vagina and uterus of any age from menarche to menopause
Hormones No hormones
Visibility Will require not having vaginal sex for at least 10 days of each menstrual cycle
STIs No protection ?
Side effects Requires careful planning
Cost Free
Where to get it Discuss it with a reproductive and sexual health clinic or your local doctor.

How does it work?

Menstrual cycles have certain days where pregnancy is less likely, when an egg (ovum) may not have been released by an ovary. The method involves avoiding sex on days where you may be at risk of pregnancy. This prevents pregnancy.

You can still participate in other sexual activities which do not risk sperm being ejaculated near the vulva. These contraceptive methods will only work with a thorough understanding of reproductive and sexual health.

You will still need to consider the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) every time you have sex.

What’s it like to use?

These methods require ongoing monitoring of personal health. Depending on which method you use it involves noting various hormonal changes and recording information using a calendar or diary. Mapping hormonal changes may involve activities such as taking your temperature, examining vaginal mucus, or feeling for changes to the vaginal wall or cervix. Learn more about your reproductive system and sexual health.

What if I forget about it?

If you have had unprotected penis in vagina (PIV) sex, you may need to consider emergency contraception and an STI check.

Who can use it?

People with a vagina and uterus of any age, from menarche to menopause.

This method can be less effective for people who experience irregular menstrual bleeding, who are approaching menopause, or who have Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Side effects

The side effects of fertility awareness require you to be highly aware of daily changes to your body. Communicate regularly and openly with your sexual partners about your reproductive and sexual health.

How and where to get it

Make an appointment with a reproductive and sexual health clinic for a health assessment or your local doctor to discuss which fertility awareness method would be most suitable for you.

Depending on which method you use you may need to purchase some additional items. An electric thermometer costs around $30, a speculum costs around $20, a hand mirror costs around $10.

What if you change your mind

You can stop using this method any time. Visit a reproductive and sexual health clinic or your local doctor to discuss your other contraceptive options.