Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning (NFP), as its name implies, uses the natural functions of the woman’s body to determine the fertile and infertile times in a woman’s cycle so as to postpone or achieve pregnancy naturally without any artificial hormones or barriers. It does not interfere with normal reproductive functions in any way. However, it is often difficult to obtain information concerning NFP. For these reasons and for the many positive benefits that Natural Family Planning has to offer, we include it on this website and in our Resource Book.

Natural Family Planning is NOT “the rhythm method!” Modern NFP is scientifically based on the latest information and can be 99% effective in postponing pregnancy if the methods are used correctly. It has no side effects or health risks for the mother or preborn children.

There are two modern methods of NFP used today: Sympto-Thermal methods and Mucus-only Methods. These methods can be used if you have irregular cycles and during times of transition like after child-birth and during premenopause. What follows is a brief description of each and local resources for how to effectively learn these natural methods of family planning.

The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) enables couples to determine periods of fertility and infertility by observing signs (i.e. symptoms) occurring within a woman’s body. The STM uses cervical mucus, temperature and cervix signs in a cross-checking approach for high confidence and reliability in fertility awareness.

The Couple to Couple League (CCL) provides local instruction on the STM of NFP. CCL has trained teaching couples who offer a series of three monthly classes enabling couples to begin using the STM under the guidance of a teaching couple. The League also offers a home-study course as well as virtual (online) classes. CCL also offers two supplemental classes that address the postpartum return to fertility and the transitional period of premenopause. These classes can be taken when the need arises. All CCL classes can be found at ccli.org.

The Archdiocese of Detroit also offers local STM classes and classes specifically focused on achieving pregnancy. Information for these classes can be found at www.nfponline.org.

Mucus-only methods enable couples to determine periods of fertility and infertility by observing only the cervical mucus. Two well-known Mucus-only methods are the Billings Ovulation Method (OM) and the Creighton Model FertilityCare® System. These methods rely on observation of changes in cervical mucus before ovulation. Women learn to be aware of changes in the mucus, determine when ovulation will occur and, consequently, pinpoint the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle.

The Archdiocese of Detroit offers local OM classes. Information for these classes can be found at www.nfponline.org.

Information on the Creighton Model FertilityCare® System can be found at www.creightonmodel.com/index.html.

All NFP methods can be used by women trying to achieve pregnancy. Through identification of the fertile phase in each cycle, women can learn when conception will most likely take place. By placing the control of fertility in the hands of the individual woman and couple, NFP promotes autonomy, independence and heightened self-esteem. NFP promotes mutual commitment and cooperation in marriage.

Studies confirm that divorce is extremely rare in marriages using NFP.

For more information on the Sympto-Thermal Method classes taught by the Couple to Couple League, visit www.ccli.org.

For more information on the Sympto-Thermal Method and the Billings Ovulation Method classes offered by the Archdiocese of Detroit, visit www.nfponlineorg or contact: nfp@aod.org.