Naturally family planning. Does it really work? Don't confuse NFP with what
used to be called the "rhythm method" of family planning. NFP relies not upon
the calendar but upon the clear and consistent signals of a woman's regular --
or even irregular -- fertility cycles.
What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning is a natural way to postpone or achieve pregnancy. It
has been proven to be 99% effective in postponing pregnancy... a method also
used with considerable success by couples trying to conceive—even when they’ve
previously had difficulty achieving a pregnancy.
Advantages of NFP
Because NFP is 100% natural, it is 100% safe and has no health risks. It involves no potentially harmful birth control drugs or devices.
Because NFP teaches you to become aware of your normal fertility pattern, changes in this pattern can alert you to possible medical problems.
It’s 99% effective in postponing pregnancy—the same effectiveness range as the Pill or Norplant and more effective than devices, creams, and other unnatural methods.
NFP costs significantly less than other forms of birth control. Once you learn it, there are no continuing costs.
You just change your timing. There’s no waiting period. And there’s been no damage to your fertility—as can happen with the use of some unnatural methods.
Most couples report that NFP has a positive effect on their marriages. They find that periodic abstinence helps keep their relationship fresh, improves their communication, and gives them a deeper respect for each other. Couples also like having a morally consistent message to give their children about sexuality.
All major religious bodies including the Catholic Church accept the use of NFP by married couples when there is a sufficiently serious reason to postpone pregnancy. The Catholic Church clearly teaches that it is wrong to use unnatural methods of birth control. In addition, birth control drugs (Pill, implants, shots) and the IUD can cause very early abortions.
Modern NFP is not the rhythm method. The Calendar Rhythm Method was developed in 1930 and was based on some biological averages, but it did not work well for women who had irregular cycles. Calendar Rhythm was the 1930s model of NFP; tremendous progress has been made since then.
Modern NFP assumes that every woman is irregular at least some of the time. Therefore, NFP can still be used effectively if you have irregular cycles. In general, if your fertile time comes earlier or later than usual, you will know it because your fertility signs will come earlier or later.
After learning NFP you will become aware of the most fertile days in your cycle, allowing you to maximize your mutual fertility. In addition, your charted cycles may reveal cetain patterns that can reduce fertility and that you can sometimes correct simply by better health practices. NFP helps many low-fertility couples to achieve pregnancy. If you do need medical assistance, your charts can provide valuable information to a knowledgeable physician.
The world’s oldest form of birth regulation is breastfeeding, and it does space
babies when it follows the norms of nature. We call this “ecological”
breastfeeding to distinguish it from “cultural” breastfeeding (that has almost
no effect on fertility). With ecological breastfeeding, your baby stays close,
and you nurse frequently. You eliminate the need for pacifiers, supplemental
formulas, and early solids. You nurse your baby without a rigid schedule.
You probably are not looking into NFP out of a desire to improve your marital
relationship. However, if you are going to practice NFP harmoniously, you’ll
soon find that you need to communicate more fully and creatively with each
other. You’ll learn not to ignore each other at times when you choose to
postpone the marriage act. Rather, you’ll develop other ways of expressing your
love and affection.
For inner peace and for family happiness, you should let God reign in your heart
and in your marriage. That’s what chaste and generous NFP is all
about—respecting God’s order of creation, letting God be God in our personal
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