Natural Family Planning is a thoroughly researched, safe, medically effective and family-supportive method of fertility regulation which can be used either to avoid a pregnancy or to achieve one. NFP is completely natural and does not use drugs, devices or surgery. It is simply a method of recognizing and charting the easily observable signs of fertility exhibited by a woman's body.
By charting fertility signs daily, a woman can determine when she is possibly fertile and when she is infertile. If a couple wishes to generously welcome a child, they know when their best chances are to conceive. If the couple wishes to postpone pregnancy, they simply abstain from sexual intercourse and genital contact during their fertile times. An umbrella term, NFP includes various methods, three of which are available in the Diocese of Rockford.
For more information on a full course of Natural Family Planning, please contact a
Who is NFP for?
Any married couple can use NFP! A woman need not have "regular" cycles. NFP education helps couples to fully understand their combined fertility, thereby helping them to either achieve or avoid a pregnancy. The key to the successful use of NFP is cooperation and communication between husband and wife--a shared commitment.
Women who hope to further understand their reproductive system and seek a natural alternative to the pill for reproductive health problems such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or polycystic ovary symptom (PCOS) may also benefit from Natural Family Planning.
If you are a single woman experiencing problems with your menstrual cycle, NFP may also help you.
A woman's body provides three basic ways to identify the fertile and infertile times of her cycle. Recognizing the pattern of those physical signs forms the basis for all methods of NFP.
A primary sign of fertility is the mucus released from the women's cervix. A woman learns to identify the normal, healthy, cervical mucus which indicates the days that intercourse is most likely to result in a pregnancy. The second sign is her basal body temperature. Due to hormonal activity, a woman's waking temperature changes during the menstrual cycle. Lower temperatures indicate that ovulation has not yet occurred. Higher temperatures indicate a rise in progesterone which signals the end of the fertile time. The third sign is a change in the shape or texture of the cervix. Finally, secondary signs, such as minor abdominal pain or pressure at the time of ovulation can also be observed.
The Diocese of Rockford offers three different methods of Natural Family Planning
The ovulation methods (Billings and Creighton) use the mucus sign. The sympto-thermal method (Couple to Couple League) uses the mucus sign, basal body temperature, and changes in the cervix.
Methods in the Diocese of Rockford:
- Billings Ovulation Method™ <-- click to view
- http://www.boma-usa.org/ OR http://www.woomb.org/
- Couples track the woman's natural and unique signs of fertility and infertility each day. Observations of the cervical mucus are noted daily primarily through what the woman feels at the vulva during normal daily activities and secondarily through the appearance of the mucus. The Billings Method requires neither internal examinations nor recording temperatures.
- Why choose Billings?
- Billings is one of the simplest methods to learn and very little work is involved in charting - women recognize their fertile signs by become more aware and simply noticing what they feel throughout the course of their daily activities
- Available in the McHenry/Woodstock area in Spanish.
- Couple to Couple League <-- click to view
- http://www.ccli.org/ OR http://www.naturalfamilyplanningchicago.com/
- The couple takes basal temperature readings at a consistent time. The woman makes note of cervical fluid, if present on the tissue after voiding. Internal observations may identify an earlier start of the fertile period. Palpation of the cervix confirms the other signs of fertility. Once the method is learned, couples choose which signs of fertility they will monitor.
- Why choose CCL?
- Uses up to three signs of fertility for added security: cervical mucus, temperature, and internal examinations to observe changes in the cervix
- Available on the east side of the diocese
- Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System <-- click to view
- http://www.creightonmodel.com/ OR http://www.popepaulvi.com/
- Creighton-Model Fertility Care System involves one-on-one attention and teaching focused to your needs and your life. Further medical evaluation by a physician is available for couples with difficulty conceiving or other reproductive problems. Local referrals are made to Brian Knabe, M.D. Referrals can also be made directly to The Pope Paul VI Institute. Information site: www.popepaulvi.com.
- Why choose Creighton?
- Using evidence-based medicine, Creighton is the most medically advanced method (NaPro) - preferred by many couples who have infertility issues or encounter medical problems with the woman's cycle
- Available in the Rockford area
A summary of the Church's teaching on Natural Family Planning can be found on the USCCB's website: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/NaturalFamilyPlanning.pdf
In our culture we can easily rush ahead, making decisions simply by looking at the end result. However, ignoring the means morally causes a multitude of problems. Morality has always taught that the ends do not justify the means. Even if an end is an amazing good (which I do not think is ever the case in avoiding a pregnancy), we cannot choose any means to attain it, but must determine the moral choice (or choices). In other words, just because the end result is the same does not mean the means are the same.
So do NFP and contraception involve two different means? Certainly if you ask anyone who supports one and opposes the other, you would hear that they are different. Although they both prevent pregnancy, they do so differently. NFP uses knowledge of our bodies to determine when a woman may or may not be fertile. If the couple has a good reason to avoid a pregnancy, the couple simply abstains from sexual intercourse and genital contact on days when conception could occur. Church teaching maintains that sexual intercourse is a gift of self to one's spouse with four components: free, total, faithful, and fruitful. When using NFP to avoid pregnancy, the husband and wife both refrain from giving a gift of themselves to their spouse. When using contraceptives, a couple ignores the body as created by God and determines that they must be in control. They choose to render an act sterile, going against God's plan for fertility. They cheapen the gift of self to their spouse. They do not give a total gift because they refrain from sharing their fertility. They do give a fruitful gift because they consciously attempt to prevent the fruitfulness of their act.
So what is the difference in one sentence? While NFP-practicing couples never render their sexual act sterile, couples using contraceptives render their act sterile and put themselves in control instead of trusting in God.
For more information, see the following links:
- Professor Janet Smith's talk Contraception: Why Not? explains some reasons why you do not want to use contraception
- Transcript of talk:
- Free cd available through: http://www.omsoul.com/catalog/1-free-copy-of-contraception-why-not-p531.html
- Transcript of talk:
See below for a list of various studies to support this statistic. "Method-related" pregnancies indicate the frequency of pregnancies when the couples carry out the instructions for a particular method. All fertility control methods have such failures, including the pill, the IUD, barrier methods, and even sterilization. The "use-related" pregnancies refer to pregnancies resulting from incorrect teaching of the method or a misunderstanding by the user of the method.
underlying causes of your medical problems?