Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for scientifically based, morally acceptable methods of regulating conception based on daily observation and interpretation of the natural signs of fertility and infertility which occur in a woman’s body. Using this knowledge, a couple can identify the days on which conception is possible should they desire to either achieve or to avoid a pregnancy. International studies confirm that, when used to avoid pregnancy, NFP has an effectiveness rate of 98-99% for a couple who has been properly instructed and who follows the method carefully.
NFP provides a healthy, highly effective method of family planning for a very low cost and with no harmful side effects. It can be used successfully at all stages in a woman’s life, including during breast-feeding and perimenopause. Couples who practice NFP often develop a deeper awe for one another’s bodies, for the gift of their joint fertility and for the privilege of parenthood. Many couples also find that the mutual respect, regular communication, shared responsibility and self-restraint required by the practice of NFP enrich their relationship and strengthen their marriage.
NFP methods are focused on one or more signs of female fertility. They can be grouped into three categories:
Cervical Mucus Methods (CMM)
The methods that observe cervical mucus are commonly called the "Ovulation Method" or "OM." In NFP education, a woman learns how to identify the normal, healthy, cervical mucus which indicates the days that sexual intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy.
Sympto-Thermal Methods (STM)
The methods that observe several signs of fertility and cross-check two or more of the signs to pinpoint ovulation are commonly called the "Sympto-Thermal Method" or "STM." STM typically combines charting of the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and cervical mucus with other optional indicators, such as changes in the cervix and secondary fertility signs.
Sympto-Hormonal Method (SHM)
The method that observes several signs of fertility and adds the use of an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) or fertility monitor is called the "Sympto-Hormonal Method" or "SHM." Similar to the STM, this approach adds the self-detection of reproductive hormones in the urine with the assistance of an OPK or fertility monitor.
There are options for learning a method of NFP in each of these categories, whether through in-person instruction or online platforms. Please click the links below or on the sidebar for more information.