Natural Family Planning
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to various teaching about the nature of love leading to a more beautiful sex life and a series of methods that help couples achieve, space out, or postpone pregnancy. NFP methods observe the naturally occurring signs of a woman's menstrual cycle fertile and infertile phases.
Unlike contraceptives, which change the character of sex to render it unfruitful, methods of NFP support God's design for your sexual life, where the union between husband and wife is both love-giving and open to life.
"These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom" (CCC 2370).
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I've been told the NFP methods are not effective
Quite the opposite. When used correctly, NFP has the same range of effectiveness as the most effective artificial means – without the side effects for the sustained use of drugs and the moral dilemmas. The Archdiocese supports four different scientific methods and a network of certified instructors so that you can select the best one for your couple's dynamic and needs.
Sympto-Thermal: The Sympto-Thermal Method identifies a woman's time of fertility through observing cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and cervical changes. Check the Couple to Couple League (CCL) website for additional information.
Billings: Based on over 50 years of ongoing scientific research, the Billings Ovulation Method® is a highly effective yet simple approach. It can work effectively for women whether they are coming off hormonal contraceptives, breastfeeding, weaning, or approaching menopause. Regardless of the particular situation, the four simple rules of the method are the same for everyone. Learn more at BOMA's website.
Creighton: The Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System (CrMS) is a method based on a woman's cervical mucus observations. It is highly effective for avoiding pregnancy, achieving pregnancy, and monitoring a women’s gynecological health. It can be used with regular or irregular cycles, breastfeeding, post-pill or IUD, or premenopause. The CrMS charts are used with the science of Natural Procreative (NaPro) Technology to evaluate and monitor reproductive and gynecological health. Creighton´s website.
Marquette: This model uses a fertility monitor to measure reproductive hormones in the urine along with the method's algorithm. The approach is suitable for women with regular cycles, irregular cycles, and breastfeeding, postpartum, or approaching menopause.
Check the website of the Institute for Natural Family Planning at Marquette University for additional details.
Advantages of Natural Family Planning
Safe and Healthy
- No medical side effects
- No abortifacient effects (in contrast to methods using artificial hormones—Pill, Patch, Depo shot, etc.)
- Promotes self-awareness and wellness
- Can alert a couple to potential fertility problems or other health issues
True to Catholic Church Teaching
- Can help couples with low fertility to have the best chance of conceiving a child
- Does not risk extended loss, reduction or total elimination of fertility like the Pill, Depo-Provera, IUD, etc.
- Can be "reversed" at any time
- Approved by the Catholic Church when used in the context of responsible parenthood
- Respects the integrity of man and wife, created in God's image
- Effective option vs. using artificial contraception, which "must be excluded as intrinsically immoral" (Familiaris Consortio, 32)
Effective in Achieving and Postponing Pregnancy
- Same range of effectiveness as the most effective artificial means (Pill, IUD, etc.)
- More effective than barriers, such as condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, etc.
Good for Marriages and for Children
- Promotes communication, faithfulness, intimacy, mutual respect, chastity, and love between spouses
- Helps parents appreciate children as gifts from God
- Helps parents communicate healthy sexual attitudes to their children
To enroll in a class, visit the NFP Classes page.
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