Natural Family Planning
Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) … He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons… This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself. –Gaudium et Spes
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies.
These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife. A couple learns a method of NFP together from a certified instructor, and are thus able to achieve or avoid pregnancy based on their discernment for their family.
How can I get in touch with a Natural Family Planning instructor in our diocese?
Learn with local instructors in-person or find instruction online to learn at home.
What are the benefits of using NFP?
In NFP, both spouses are taught to understand the nature of fertility and work with it, either to plan a pregnancy or avoid a pregnancy. Couples who use NFP soon learn that they have a shared responsibility for family planning.
Other benefits include:
- Low cost
- No harmful side effects
- Effective for achieving, spacing, or limiting pregnancy
- Can be used throughout a woman’s reproductive life
- Marriage enrichment and mutual understanding
- Appreciation for the value of children
- Fosters respect for and acceptance of the total person
- Morally acceptable
How effective are natural family planning methods for avoiding pregnancy?
When couples understand the methods and are motivated to follow them, NFP is up to 99% successful in spacing or limiting births. Those who are highly motivated to avoid pregnancy and follow the method-defined rules are very effective in meeting their goal.
You can view stories of couples who use NFP and how NFP has impacted their marriages by visiting Couple to Couple League.
Sympto-Thermal Method with The Couple to Couple League
This method teaches couples how to monitor and track a woman’s cervical fluid and basal body temperature, which change in response to a woman’s hormones throughout the month. A woman takes her temperature at the same time of the day every morning, and observes cervical fluid throughout the day. With this information, a woman is able to correctly identify fertile and infertile periods in her cycle. This method is taught by a trained CCL teaching couple virtually or in-person.
Creighton Model FertilityCare System
A trained FertilityCare Practitioner teaches each couple the Creighton Method by instructing them how to monitor cervical fluid throughout the day in order to identify fertile and infertile times in the cycle. This method also features NaProTechnology, a highly effective women’s health science which helps treat underlying causes of common gynecological conditions. Women with irregular cycles, endometriosis, PCOS, infertility, and other conditions find NaProtechnology to be more beneficial to their health than other typical approaches to their health concerns.
A nurse or other medical professional who is trained in the Marquette Method teaches couples how to identify fertile and infertile times through Hormonal Fertility Monitoring by using ovulation test strips and an electronic fertility monitor. The couple is equipped with the knowledge to chart data from the electronic fertility monitor with or without additional data from cervical fluid observations. This method is especially helpful for breastfeeding mothers and those who desire clear and objective hormone readings. Please note that this method requires purchase of the fertility monitor and monthly purchase of hormone test strips.
Billings Ovulation Method
A certified Billings instructor teaches the Billings method to couples, and instructs on how they can track cervical fluid sensation and observations throughout the day to identify a woman’s fertile and infertile windows in her cycle. The method has four simple rules that the couple employs based on their goals to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
“Limitation of one's freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it a positive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.” – John Paul II, Love and Responsibility