Please note: This page and its resources are not substitutes for formal NFP instruction, nor are they intended to be. This page is solely the representation of the thoughts and writings of its owner: it 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 teach about how to use:
– Basal Body Temperature
– Hormone monitoring
– Cervical Fluid
– Personal chart history
– Basic cycle formulas
I strongly believe this method is the best (otherwise, why would I teach and use it?), but this method is not the ONLY one out there! By comparison, you can also check out:
This question has two facets:
1) Why does the Church support NFP?
2) Why do I, personally, use NFP?
Over time, I hope the posts and resources you find here at Summa Momma will help answer that question. For now, the short response is:
The Church supports NFP as an extension of responsible parenthood, whereby married Christian couples are entrusted with the privilege and duty to co-operate with God’s creation of new life while taking into account their responsibilities towards them selves, their spouse, other children, and society. NFP is an approved method of regulating births (to postpone OR achieve pregnancy) because it does not violate or hinder in any way the natural act of marital intercourse, which is the expression of the couple’s total gift of self to one another.
I practice NFP because I am Catholic. Because I believe in the magisterial teaching of the Church and trust her to guide me in my married life. Because I recognize that family planning is a shared duty for me a my spouse, not a unilateral responsibility. Because I do not believe that my fertility is a problem to be fixed. BECAUSE IT WORKS. Because I cannot in good conscience do anything else.
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)
Visit the Newsletter Archives for downloadable copies of my personal NFP newsletter: “NFP and Me.”