Natural Family Planning is a method of planning your family in a natural way that respects the Catholic Church, but allows you to manage your fertility. Without using harmful drugs that provide a barrier to the connection with your spouse, natural family planning allows you the freedom to achieve, postpone or avoid pregnancy. By doing so, you can care for and create the size of family that you believe is right for your situation. Using natural family planning methods, you can both help yourself conceive or stop yourself from conceiving.
What are the benefits of NFP?
There are a number of benefits associated with natural family planning. While a child is the greatest blessing, many families wish to limit the number of children they have due to financial, health and other reasons.
Using NFP will help to strengthen your marriage. There will be no literal or figurative barriers to sexual intercourse, as NFP requires you to communicate and cooperate about procreation and when it happens. Both spouses will then find that NFP encourages them to respect and accept the other person, while using this method.
Natural family planning methods support the reproductive health of the woman, unlike contraceptive methods, which have harmful side effects and do irreversible damage to both men and women. It is an environmentally-friendly way to control conception and costs nothing.
By learning and using natural family planning methods, you will value your child and honor God’s design for your life and marriage. It is a method that respects procreation as a way of deepening intimacy in a marriage, but also that will allow a couple to find non-sexual ways of expressing their love during times of abstinence.
Who can use NFP?
Any married couple can use natural family planning methods. Because NFP requires a shared commitment between both spouses, both husbands and wives will use and benefit from NFP methods. Finding a qualified instructor or taking a course on natural family planning is the best thing to do before you get married. If you are already married, it is not too late to learn about NFP.
What are the methods used?
Based on scientific facts about fertility, couples will monitor the woman’s menstrual cycle closely, figuring out the best times for conception and planning around these times, whether they are trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy. There are three categories of NFP methods.
- Cervical Mucus Method (CMM) (also called Ovulation Method)
Using this method, a woman tracks and learns about her cervical mucus and its changes during different times of her cycle. By doing so, she can figure out the most optimal days for sexual intercourse based on when she is most likely to get pregnant.
- Sympto-Thermal Method (STM)
Using this method, couples observe if there are signs of fertility happening in order to pinpoint if ovulation is occurring. Using her basal body temperature and the tracking of cervical mucus, plus other signs of ovulation, the STM method is an effective NFP method.
- Sympto-Hormonal Method (SHM)
Using an ovulation predictor kit or fertility monitor, the couple will monitor reproductive hormones in the urine to find out the optimal time for timing intercourse.
Married couples can continue to have a loving and mutually respectful relationship using natural family planning methods.
An introduction to Natural Family Planning is another essential step of most parish’s or diocesan marriage preparation requirements. NFP Life, offered by The Marriage Group, is a prefect resource to fulfill that requirement, as well as introduce you to the transformative benefits of practicing NFP in your married-life. Learn more at http://nfp.life