Practicing NFP (Natural Family Planning)

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Family Life, Health, Marriage Prep, Parenting, Society, Teachings

Whether you are engaged or already married, the conversation of practicing NFP will arise at some point.

Receiving some certification of training in Natural Family Planning is a requirement to be married in the Catholic Church. But, the journey of practicing NFP looks different for everyone. Some people get married totally ready to have kids and do not even bother charting their fertility. Others struggle to conceive and then learn how to chart to aid in identifying fertility issues. Some couples get married and intend to wait for whatever reason to try to start their family.

No matter the approach you and your spouse (or fiancé) intend to take, the conversation of practicing NFP will most likely come up eventually. It might be during a struggle, or it may be after you have a child and want to revisit your approach to fertility awareness. Whenever it happens, it can be very helpful to familiarize yourself with the different methods of fertility charting. Depending on your disposition and needs, not all methods are equally helpful.

Symto-Thermal Method of

This is the most commonly taught method when couples learn through their diocese. Sympto-Thermal tracking involves reading the three fertility signs women exhibit during ovulation: basil temperature, cervical mucus, and cervix position. Some women enjoy having three factors to rely on to determine their ovulation. Others find their bodies don’t necessarily display a “unity” in their symptoms, and this method ends up confusing them. Whether it ends up being a couple’s long-term method or not, it can be a valuable introduction to fertility awareness.

Marquette Method of

The Marquette Method relies on using ovulation sticks to chart fertility. This model involves reading the hormone levels in a woman’s urine every day. Our hormones change through our fertility cycle as we go through menstruation, infertility, ovulation, and infertility again (generally speaking). Because this method charts hormone levels, it can be a valuable tool when struggling to conceive. This charting method helps monitor what levels of progesterone—the hormone necessary for pregnancy– a woman is emitting during ovulation.

Billings and Creighton Methods of

Both the Billing Ovulation Model and the Creighton Method involve charting cervical mucus. Women produce mucus during ovulation to allow the sperm to reach their egg for fertilization. These methods involve observing the sensation of the cervix, presence of mucus, and stretchiness/thickness of the mucus every time a woman uses the restroom. An NFP practitioner can help advise women which method would better suit them depending on their health history. Because the methods rely on presence of cervical mucus, there is only one factor to focus on when determining fertility. This makes these methods most recommended for women who breastfeed their babies and wish to delay future pregnancies.

Choosing an NFP method is a shared decision

NFP is not Catholic contraception. While it is critical to consider the wife’s health and needs when selecting a method, this should be a shared decision. When done correctly, charting will be a shared responsibility. The decision of when to achieve or delay pregnancy is always for husband and wife to make together. Whatever NFP method you choose will be part of every pregnancy journey. Pray it over, research together, and have a beautiful relationship with the gift of your fertility!  For more Information check out this website:

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Michelle C. Martin

Michelle graduated from Texas Tech University with her husband, Joshua, in May 2021 and married him in June on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She has a degree in Communication Studies and has loved growing in knowledge of healthy and authentic relationships during her time in college and adulthood. Michelle and Joshua currently reside in Lubbock, TX where he works as an architect and she loves life as a stay-at-home wife and mother to their children, Peter and Cecilia.

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