Why Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) methods represent authentic family planning. They can be used to both achieve and to postpone a pregnancy. NFP makes use of periodic abstinence from sexual intercourse based upon the observation of the woman’s natural signs of fertility, in order to space births or to limit the number of children when there is a serious reason to do so this practice fosters in couples an attitude of respect and wonder in the face of human life, which is sacred. It also fosters profound respect for one’s spouse, which is necessary for authentic intimacy. (Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009, p. 20)
NFP Series of 4 monthly classes: Ovulation Method “Family of the Americas” is taught by Juanita & Javier Rivera; Sympto-Termal Method “Couple to Couple League” (requires pin number ahead of time for materials) is taught by Francisco & Elva Arroyo or by Juan Pablo & Michelle Ayala. Classes are in St. Gabriel, 509 E. 11th Street. Please call the teaching couple to register for series you will attend.
Juanita & Javier Rivera
Michelle & Juan Pablo Ayala
What are the benefits of using NFP?
In NFP both husband and wife are taught to understand and live God’s design for married love—this will give them countless blessings! NFP methods promote a holistic approach to family planning which both respects procreation and has the potential to deepen the intimacy of husband and wife.
NFP methods support reproductive health. They are good for the body. The natural methods have none of the harmful side effects caused by contraception, especially chemical contraceptives (e.g., pill, injection, etc.). For the woman, NFP charting can even assist in the diagnosis of underlying medical problems. And, if a couple find they are having trouble conceiving, NFP information can help them pinpoint the most fertile time of the wife’s cycle.
NFP methods can be marriage strengthening. NFP relies on couple communication and behavior change. NFP methods require husband and wife to cooperate with each other in the most intimate area of their lives. During times of periodic sexual abstinence, husband and wife live a renewed courtship as they discover non-sexual ways to express their love for each other. On a practical level, husbands are encouraged to “tune into” their wives’ cycles, and both spouses are encouraged to speak openly and frankly about their sexual desires, hopes for number of children, and prayerful discernment of God’s will for their marriage.
When living the NFP lifestyle, husband and wife learn that they have a shared responsibility for safeguarding God’s gifts of human sexuality, marriage and family. They also grow in their understanding of God’s will for their family size. NFP has the potential to make good marriages great!
Natural Family Planning and the Signs of Fertility
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. A number of NFP providers teach a variety of approaches to the observation and charting of cervical mucus (e.g., Billings Ovulation Method Association—USA, Creighton Model FertilityCare™ Centers, Family of the Americas, etc.).
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. A number of NFP providers teach a variety of approaches to the observation and charting of these signs (e.g., Couple to Couple League, Northwest Family Services, various diocesan programs, etc.).
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. Various diocesan NFP programs make use of the SHM as well as Marquette University’s Institute for NFP (Marquette Model).