Known as Natural Planning, Rhythm method
Medical names Fertility Awareness Based Methods, Symptothermal methods, Billings method, Calendar Method
Effectiveness 76% - 99%
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 the first period 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 None, however requires careful planning and daily monitoring
Cost Free
Where to get it Discuss it with a reproductive and sexual health clinic or your local doctor


Fertility Awareness Method

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 Method

How does it work?

The fertility awareness method (FAM) involves avoiding penis in vagina sex on days where you are at risk of pregnancy. Sperm is able to survive in the uterus or fallopian tubes for up to 7 days even though the released egg survives only 12-24 hours. The risk of pregnancy is highest in the 7 days prior to ovulation and one day after ovulation has occured.

FAMS involve:

- observing changes in cervical mucus secretions, cervical changes and basal body temperature (symptoms-based mthods)


- monitoring the days of the menstrual cycle (calendar-based methods)

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. As these factors can be highly variable, this is often not a very reliable method of contraception.

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 your first period 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

There are no side effects of fertility awareness based methods, however they do 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. 


Reproduction & Contraception Further Support & Advice