What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to methods of family planning that do not use artificial hormones or barrier methods in order to avoid pregnancy. Instead, couples learn to identify when the woman is naturally fertile in her cycle and avoid intercourse on those days when trying to postpone pregnancy. Alternatively, when they discern that it is time to conceive, they can have intercourse during the “fertile window” for the best chance at conception.
Often people confuse modern methods of NFP with the outdated rhythm method, so much so that advocates for NFP often blurt “It’s not the rhythm method!” before anyone gets the chance to ask about its efficacy. The rhythm method was actually an early form of Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) used for Natural Family Planning, but we have come a long way in FAM since the 1930s. The rhythm method relied on predicting ovulation based on when a woman’s period occurred, which was not accurate for all women, and resulted in many unintended pregnancies. However, in the 1950s significant advances were made in understanding the role that cervical mucus plays in fertility. 1
We now have many accurate Fertility Awareness Methods2 that use biomarkers such as cervical mucus, basal body temperature, cervical position, and urine hormone measurements in order to identify when ovulation occurs. With perfect use, most NFP Methods have a method failure rate below 2%, and with typical use are below 10%. To compare to artificial means, the Pill has a perfect use of 0.3% and a typical use of 9%.3 When taking into consideration the possible side effects of “the pill,” it just doesn’t measure up.
It is important to obtain an instructor so that you can learn the method to the best of your ability and have someone there to help you interpret any irregularities. All Fertility Awareness Methods have protocols on how to determine the “fertile window” when a couple can achieve pregnancy, and rules on how to proceed when trying to postpone pregnancy. Different methods track different biomarkers in order to pinpoint ovulation, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of NFP. A couple must consider which methods will work best with their lifestyle and goals for charting.4 For example, a woman that needs help with a health issue relating to her cycle may want to use the Creighton Method5 because it is used by physicians trained in NaPro Technology6 to identify underlying hormonal or physiological issues. The best way to figure out which method is right for your family is to visit the websites of each of the methods and reach out to the instructors of methods that you are interested in. 7
At COLFS we are proud to offer holistic women's care through NaPro Technology, and our doctors can help uncover underlying women's using this natural method. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Delgado or Dr. Saroki today to receive treatment using NaPro Technology.