Natural Family Planning (NFP) Methods
The Archdiocese of San Francisco promotes four different NFP methods that are each natural and effective; choosing a method is a matter of personal preference.
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.
Learn about nature's fertility indicators
Normal, healthy cervical fluid is released from the women's cervix when she ovulates. A woman can learn to identify this fluid which indicates the days in which intercourse is most likely to result in a pregnancy.
The second sign is basal body temperature. Hormonal activity causes a woman's waking temperature to change throughout the menstrual cycle. Lower temperatures indicate that ovulation has not yet occurred. Higher temperatures indicate a rise in progesterone which signals the end of the fertile time.
The third sign is a change in the shape or texture of the cervix. Finally, secondary signs, such as minor abdominal pain or pressure at the time of ovulation can also be observed.
The two most common forms of natural family planning methods, Ovulation Methods or Sympto-Thermal Methods, rely on these natural indicators. The archdiocese recommends two of each method to married couples who wish to postpone pregnancy.
While it is possible to learn NFP methods on your own, classes by trained instructors are highly recommended.
Cervical Fluid Methods:
Methods that help women recognize the presence of cervical fluid indicating ovulation.
Billings Ovulation Method
Billings is one of the simplest methods to learn and very little work is involved in charting. It is available in English and Spanish. Women recognize their fertile signs by become more aware and simply noticing what they feel throughout the course of their daily activities. Couples track the woman's natural and unique signs of fertility and infertility each day. The Billings Method requires neither internal examinations nor recording temperatures.
Instruction is typically 4-6 classes, first one as a group, then individual follow-ups, usually 20-30 minutes each. Costs vary - normally about $30-35/session.
New Internet and Mobile Intervention for the Billings Method
Women Observing Ovulation by Method Billings (W.O.O.M.B.)
Creighton-Model Fertility Care System
Creighton-Model Fertility Care System involves one-on-one attention and teaching focused to your needs and your lifestyle. Further medical evaluation by a physician is available for couples with difficulty conceiving or other reproductive problems. Local referrals are made to a local family physician. Referrals can also be made directly to The Pope Paul VI Institute.
Using evidence-based medicine, Creighton is the most medically advanced method (NaPro) and often is preferred by many couples who have infertility issues or encounter medical problems with the woman's cycle.
Instruction is typically 6-10 classes including general introduction, then individual follow-ups. Typical costs are $35 for materials and $45-55/session.
FertilityCare Centers of America
Pope Paul VI Institute For the Study of Human Reproduction
Creighton Model Fertility Care System
Methods use the cervical fluid sign, basal body temperature, and changes in the cervix. These methods also use ecological breast feeding and are available in English and Spanish.
Couple to Couple League
The couple takes basal temperature readings at a consistent time. The woman makes note of cervical fluid, if present on the tissue after voiding. Internal observations may identify an earlier start of the fertile period. Palpation of the cervix confirms the other signs of fertility. Once the method is learned, couples choose which signs of fertility they will monitor.
Instruction is typically 3-5 classes, the first in a group setting, the remainder one-on-one. Typical cost is $135 for the first session, subsequent sessions are free.
The Couple to Couple League
Couple to Couple League of Chicago
This method can be learned in classes in a group setting or through an online home study course you can do at your own pace. The $70 donation for the classes or the online course makes it very economical. This provides instruction, free charts and a downloadable manual. A couple can get started immediately. There is also free follow-up for any questions, concerns, or chart reviews.
Couples learn all the fertility signs plus the natural spacing of births with ecological breastfeeding. Ecological breastfeeding maximizes the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby with the added benefit of abstinence-free natural spacing of babies. The cross-checking method is highly effective for postponing pregnancy and can be an aid for achieving pregnancy.