Natural Family Planning (NFP)

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What is Natural Family Planning?

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a key component in cultivating a culture of life in the world. NFP gives married couples the tools they need to monitor their fertility and helps achieve or avoid pregnancy - completely naturally.

There are three popular methods of NFP:

  1. Creighton Model FertilityCare System (http://www.fertilitycare.org/)
  2. Billings Ovulation Method (http://www.boma-usa.org/)
  3. Sympto-Thermal Method (http://www.ccli.org)

All three methods can be equally effective in helping couples avoid pregnancy - 99.5% method-effective; 96.5% use effective. According to studies, the use effectiveness of NFP exceeds the use effectiveness of the contraceptive birth control pill. Of the three methods, only the Creighton Model is standardized, which means that it uses a universal, fully objective system for tracking a woman's fertility signs. Its standardization allows medical professionals trained in the system to effectively diagnose and treat fertility problems.

Because of its particular suitability for medical use, we focus on the Creighton Model FertilityCare System on this site.

How does NFP work?

All three methods of NFP described here operate based on the same fundamental concepts. Pioneering work was done in the area of NFP in the 1950s by doctors John and Lyn Billings in Melbourne, Australia (for which the Billings Ovulation Method is named). The doctors discovered that a woman's body shows definite, easily identifiable signs in the days leading up to her ovulation. These signs turn out to be highly reliable and consistent among virtually all women. With this knowledge in hand, the Billings developed an easily learned system whereby women could track these signs and know on any given day whether or not they were fertile. By choosing days of sexual intercourse according to these signs and their family planning goals, pregnancy could be achieved or avoided with a high degree of effectiveness.

Unlike the calendar rhythm method or "cycle beads," these systems of NFP work for all women regardless of the length of their cycle.

NFP is easy to learn and use. The basic "sign" of ovulation a woman is looking for when using NFP is her cervical mucus. Observations of this mucus are taken throughout the day when a woman goes to the bathroom. In the Creighton Model, a few simple characteristics of the mucus are noted and each day the observations are recorded on a calendar-like chart. Watching the change in these observations day-to-day is what allows women to recognize their fertility and infertility.

Suitability of the Creighton Model for Medical Use

Breakthrough research being conducted at the Pope Paul VI Insitute has revealed much more than simply a woman's fertility vs. infertility. Changes in a woman's cervical mucus along with other symptoms that are recognized when charting have resulted in effective diagnosis and corresponding treatments of a wide variety of health problems:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Maintaining Pregnancy
  • Irregular Cycles
  • Effects of Stress
  • Hormone Problems
  • PMS
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Unusual Bleeding

Visit the NaProTechnology website for more information on this breakthrough research.

Facts about the Creighton Model of NFP

  • The method is 99.5% method-effective in helping couples avoid pregnancy.
  • 98% of couples of normal fertility attempting to achieve pregnancy do within 6 months
  • Success rates of achieving pregnancy in couples with infertility range from 20-40% using the method alone and up to 80% with medical treatment. This is much higher than the success rate of in vitro fertilization, which is only about 23% effective.

References

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