Please note: This page and its resources are not substitutes for formal NFP instruction, nor are they intended to be. This page is not affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston or any of the methods of NFP which are detailed below.
What is NFP?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a large umbrella term for any method of regulating births that uses natural, fertility markers to determine when a woman is capable of getting pregnant. All NFP methods follow the same general pattern:
The differences among methods lie in which fertility cues they employ, how detailed the observations of those cues are, and which rules are used to determine the start and end of fertility each month (the couple’s “Fertile Window”). Methods can also vary based on the expected relationship between client and teacher, so when you are looking for a method, be sure to choose one that suits YOUR lifestyle and needs.
How you use NFP may change over time and will vary from couple to couple. For a couple looking to postpone pregnancy, they follow rules to avoid intercourse during their fertile window. For a couple looking to achieve pregnancy, rules are applied to target their fertile window. The degrees to which you accurately observe, chart, interpret signs -and- follow rules for your method will help determine the efficacy of that method.
What’s your method?
I am a certified teacher of the Boston Cross-Check method, which teaches couples ways to use the fertility markers listed below separately, or in various combinations, to suit their desired efficacy and planning needs. We use:
- Basal Body Temperature
- Hormone monitoring using the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor
- Cervical Fluid (with optional cervical checks)
- Personal chart history
- Basic cycle formulas
With the BCC method, you will work closely with your instructor to learn all of these fertility signs and figure out which combination works best for your body, your lifestyle, and your fertility goals; however, this is not the only method available! By comparison, you can also check out:
Further Reading on the Church and Family Planning:
Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI, 1968)
Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later (Janet E. Smith)
Familiaris Consortio (Pope Saint John Paul II, 1981)
Birth Control and NFP: What’s the Difference? (Priests for Life)
NFP- “Serious Motives” (Dr. Hogan, NFP Outreach)