Through the FACTS group, we strive to educate our colleagues and clients about scientifically sound, evidence based methods of family planning that are built on an understanding of our natural, reproductive physiology.  Based on this knowledge, we hope people will value their fertility and the way the body is designed to function.  It is more than simply an awareness ~ we want to nurture an appreciation for one’s biological ability to produce new life.

What are Natural or Fertility Awareness Based Methods of Family Planning?

NFP or FABMs are family planning methods in which a couple uses daily observations of physical signs and symptoms that change as hormones fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle to identify when a woman is fertile. Using this information, couples may time sexual intercourse according to their desire to achieve or avoid a pregnancy.

The term Natural Family Planning (NFP) highlights that these methods are based on observations of natural signs and exclude the use of artificial barriers or chemicals to prevent pregnancy. Couples accept fertility as a normal state of health and share responsibility for family planning by modifying behaviors according to their intentions.

The term Fertility Awareness Based Method (FABM) emphasizes that these methods are based on an understanding of one’s fertility. It also highlights that this information can be used not only for family planning but also for monitoring a woman’s reproductive health.

While these terms are interchangeable and both will be used on this site, the Fertility Awareness Combined approach refers to the use of barriers, spermicides or withdrawal during the fertile period. It is important to note that almost all of the research on the effectiveness of NFP/FABMs has been done when couples choose to abstain from sexual relations when they are fertile. When a couple combines a FABM with an artificial method, the effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy may be lower as the typical use effectiveness rates of barrier methods are lower than the typical use effectiveness rates for FABMs.