In natural family planning, a woman learns how to record fertility signals, such as periods, body temperature and changes in cervical mucus, to identify when she is most and least likely to get pregnant.
She can then avoid having sex or use other contraception methods when it's more likely she will get pregnant.
Natural family planning offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
It can take three to six menstrual cycles to learn these methods and it requires daily monitoring of fertility signals. This method lasts as long as you use it for.
Male and female condoms protect against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you need to use male or female condoms for anal or vaginal sex, and either male condoms or dental dams for oral sex. . They keep sperm in and sexually transmitted infections out. Male condoms are 98% effective and female condoms 95% effective if used correctly.
For more information please see FPA - male and female condoms guide
- Sperm can get into the vagina during sex, even if you use a condom. This may happen if:
- the penis touches the area around the vagina before a condom is put on (pre-ejaculation fluid, which leaks out of the penis before ejaculation, may contain sperm)
- the condom splits
- you use the wrong type or size of condom
- you don’t use the condom correctly
- the male condom slips off
- the female condom gets pushed into the vagina
- the penis enters the vagina outside the female condom by mistake the condom gets damaged, for example by sharp fingernails or jewellery
- you use too much or too little lubricant
- you use oil-based products (such as body lotions) with latex condoms. These damage the condom.
If any of these happen, or if you have had sex without using contraception, you can get advice about emergency contraception.
If the instructions are properly followed, natural family planning methods are up to 98% effective, depending on what method is used. This means that up to two women in 100 who use natural family planning will get pregnant in 1 year. Of course, it will be less effective if it's not used exactly according to the instructions.