Natural Family Planning
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a term for methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of a woman’s menstrual cycle. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving nature of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
As a method of family planning, NFP:
- Calls for mutual responsibility and communication by husband and wife
- Is based on scientific research
- Treats each menstrual cycle as unique and teaches a couple to observe signs of fertility on a day-to-day basis
- Has no harmful side effects
- Is effective for achieving or avoiding pregnancy
- Can be used in special circumstances
- Is virtually cost free
How does NFP work?
NFP instruction helps a couple identify the most opportune time to achieve as well as avoid pregnancy. No artificial methods are used, because they would interfere with observation of fertility signs.
NFP is NOT the “Rhythm” method that was based on the theory that time of ovulation could be determined by calculating from previous menstrual cycles. This method often proved inaccurate because of the unique nature of each woman’s cycle.
What are the signs of fertility?
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.
How effective are the methods of natural family planning for avoiding pregnancy?
When couples are taught by competent teachers, understand the methods, and are motivated to follow them, NFP is up to 99% successful in spacing or limiting births. Effectiveness depends upon the spouses’ following the rules of the method.