What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
NFP is a term for methods of family planning that utilizes knowledge of the body’s naturally occurring signs of fertility. NFP uses no chemicals or devices but rather the avoidance of intercourse during the fertile phase of a menstrual cycle if pregnancy is to be avoided and the intercourse during the fertile phase if pregnancy is to be achieved.
Isn’t NFP just guess work?
No. NFP is based on the biology. The method of family planning that utilizes guess work, is really contraceptives. Couples do get pregnant on contraceptives because when a woman is in the fertile phase of her cycle, she can become pregnant. Couples who use contraceptives guess that their chemical or device will work. On the other hand, couples using NFP know how to identify the fertile phase and use the only 100% guaranteed method of avoiding pregnancy, which is abstinence during the fertile part of the menstrual cycle.
Is NFP the same as the Rhythm Method?
No. Modern methods of NFP are based on daily observance of the signs of fertility and infertility. It does not predicting when ovulation will occur as did “rhythm.”
How effective is NFP?
NFP is 99% effective when used to avoid pregnancy. It is also highly effective when used to achieve pregnancy. Read more in the NFP overview.
I don’t have regular cycles, is this OK?
NFP does not require regular cycles in order to be effective.
Is NFP difficult to learn?
NFP is used effectively by millions of people worldwide, even where the literacy rate is much lower than our own. It is not rocket science but makes use of a few basic guidelines. Most women can learn to recognize their signs of fertility within 1 month of learning and become confident within 3 months. Those who cannot may have fertility problems, in which case NFP is especially important to learn.
Is NFP going to be a serious inconvenience?
No. The woman observes her fertile signs as she goes about her normal daily routine. She records them on her chart once each evening—a task that takes less than 5 seconds. After the initial class, there is no more monetary investment. The spouses can feel peace that it is morally acceptable and there will never be any negative side-effects. How’s that for convenience?
Is NFP just for Catholics?
NFP is for anyone. NFP is based on the biology of the human body which is the same regardless of religious belief or no religious belief at all.
How can I learn NFP?
Taking a class from an experienced instructor is the best way to learn NFP. NFP is not something easily learned on your own. A book can’t answer your questions. Everyone’s body is unique and everyone’s situation is different. NFP teachers are thoroughly trained. Most practice the method themselves and have taught countless others to do the same.
When should I take an NFP class?
Couples are encouraged to attend an NFP class as early as 4 – 6 months before marriage, but it’s never too late to learn!
Sign up as soon as possible.
Is there another way I can learn (besides the scheduled classes)?
With something as serious as family planning, taking a class with an NFP teacher is essential. Your instructor will be a valuable resource both now and for whatever situation you may need assistance with in the future. Besides selecting from the available NFP Classes, contact an NFP teacher near you. Some NFP teachers may be willing to add a class, make special arrangements, provide some follow-up via phone or other formats to help accommodate you.
What can I expect in an NFP class?
In your initial Natural Family Planning class, expect to learn what NFP is, why it is beneficial, the spiritual and relational aspects of NFP and the science behind it. You will also learn specific signs of fertility and infertility to look for in your body on a daily basis. In addition, you will see example NFP charts and learn how to chart your signs of fertility. You will also learn the guidelines necessary to use the method to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
What can I expect in my first follow-up to NFP class?
After the initial class, you will start to recognize the signs of fertility and infertility within your own body. Many couples find it interesting and empowering to begin to notice these signs. In general, follow-up sessions will include further discussion and review of the method and an opportunity to do some practice charting exercises. You will chart your signs between the follow-up sessions and have the opportunity to review your charts with your instructor as well as get help with any questions you may have.