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Natural family planning refers to the different forms of family planning that are approved by the Roman Catholic Church. It includes various types of methods designed to avoid or delay pregnancy without resorting to condoms or other forms of contraception that are deemed unnatural by the Catholic Church. The primary form of natural contraception is periodic abstinence, whereby the woman observes and records her menstrual cycles to determine her level of fertility.
The three main types of natural family planning include the calendar-based, symptoms-based, and lactational amenorrhea methods. These techniques are used to track a woman’s signs of fertility by observing her cervical position, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature. To avoid pregnancy, the woman should avoid sexual intercourse during her fertile periods.
Modern devices such as computerized fertility monitors can also be used for more accurate results. These track the woman’s hormonal levels as well as the electrical resistance of her saliva.
This method of family planning has been shown to be up to 99% effective, if strictly monitored. However, they do not protect either party from sexually-transmitted infections.