“Celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality.”
Natural Family Planning
NFP gives you the tools to:
- Achieve or PostponE Pregnancy in a Natural & Effective way.
- Build a deeper emotional connection with your spouse.
- Cultivate respect & awareness for the gift of marital sexuality.
What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. The term Natural Family Planning highlights that:
- these methods are based on observations of naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
- couples do not use artificial barriers or chemicals to prevent pregnancy.
- couples accept fertility as a normal state of health and share responsibility for family planning by modifying behaviors according to their intentions.
Is a Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) the same as NFP?
Sometimes the term NFP is used along with, or in place of, the term FABM (Fertility Awareness Based Method). In the strictest sense of the term Fertility Awareness Based Method encompasses only the scientific/biological aspect that these methods are based on an understanding of one’s fertility (Item 1 above). As such, the FABM can be used as a natural family planning method, but it can also be used for monitoring any woman’s reproductive health.
The difference is that an FABM doesn’t require both spouses to “share responsibility” for the decision of achieving or avoiding pregnancy. And while some couples who use FABMs also use condoms or other forms of contraception in addition to using an FABM, NFP excludes the use of artificial barriers (e.g., condoms) or chemicals (e.g., the birth control pill) because the use of these to suppress fertility violates God’s plan for married love.
Overview of the NFP Methods (FABMs)
Different NFP methods are based on the different physical signs or biomarkers that change throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. These signs indicate when a woman may be fertile.
For additional information about these signs, and about FABMs and NFP, visit the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative To Teach the Science (or FACTS) website page on charting at: factsaboutfertility.org/what-is-charting/
FACTS is a national collaborative of physicians, nurses, and fertility awareness educators committed to educating physicians in FABMs.
ANY REFERENCE ON THE FACTS WEBSITE THAT ALLOWS USE OF AN ARTIFICIAL BARRIER SUCH AS A CONDOM, OR ANY CONTRACEPTIVE, IS NOT IN ALIGNMENT WITH CATHOLIC TEACHING.
Find an NFP/FABM Educator
Many couples would prefer to learn NFP on their own, but we strongly advise that you take a professional NFP course. NFP’s effectiveness is directly related to the quality of the NFP course/curriculum and the commitment of the person completing the training.
Some app companies are also partnering with the NFP/FABM Educators to allow their users to receive bundled packages.
Click on this link to find professional NPF educators to learn the basics about NFP and appropriately learn the signs of your fertility cycle:
The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility™
The doctors and healthcare professionals at The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility™ provide general gynecological care, prenatal care, natural family planning education, and infertility services – all with a deep commitment to honoring a woman’s dignity and the sanctity of human life.* With offices in New Brunswick and Manhattan, The National Gianna Center is dedicated to providing a more natural alternative to assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
Evolving technologies and Fertility apps
Evolving technologies are now supporting women’s reproductive health. With the rapidly expanding fertility apps and new fertility monitoring (data capturing) devices that are now emerging, you may be questioning if these apps and devices are approved by the Catholic Church, and if they are safe and effective.
The key point is that if you use one of these apps or wearable monitoring devices, the same Church teachings apply. When you detect that you are fertile, you either abstain from having sex (if you don’t want to get pregnant) or you engage in the sexual act, open to the possibility that God will bless your union with new life. God’s plan keeps Him this involved in your marital intimacy. Using any type of artificial barrier keeps God out of the equation, and this is what Church teaching disagrees with.
HELPFUL: Some of these fertility apps and new technologies can be of great assistance to couples in avoiding and achieving a pregnancy, while still living out God’s plan for sexual love. The couple needs to learn about the science of fertility and do the required research.
There are many new support groups emerging on Facebook, and there are many faithful Catholic women and men managing their fertility according to God’s plan and sharing their stories via social media. Try searching Facebook using the words: Catholic and NFP.
If couples want to consider any of the new technologies, we strongly suggest the following:
- Take a formal NFP course from a certified teacher, and complete the designated curriculum, online or in person (reference link above).
- Do your research!
- One app that the Family Life Office endorses is the FEMM app.
- Understand the commitment to daily practice (use of method) you need to make. For NFP to truly be effective, it requires consistent use, mutual motivation and loving cooperation.
- Understand the risks and impacts of any of these methods failing. Can you always be open to the possibility of bringing new life into this world?
- Talk to your spouse about NFP, pray, and make a faith-filled and Christ-centered decision, respecting God’s design for married love.
A Great Resource:Natural Womanhood
- Natural Womanhood is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of fertility charting, as a way to promote disease prevention, self-knowledge, relational intimacy, and effective family planning. Their mission is to encourage women to understand their individual fertility cycles by charting them, not just for pregnancy prevention, but for health benefits, for women’s empowerment, and for family planning.
- They exist to change the common belief that contraceptives are the only way to avoid pregnancy or to treat certain women’s health disorders.
Infertility and alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization
To talk with the Family Life Office about NFP
For additional information, or to talk with a Family Life staff member about NFP, call 646-794-3168 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical consultants are licensed physicians who support and/or promote the use of Natural Family Planning methods.
Dr. Anne Nolte (nee Mielnik), MD, FCMC, Family Practice
(specializing in the Creighton Method – FertilityCareTM)
Gianna Center (NY) – Catholic Healthcare for Women
15 East 40th St. (just West of Madison Ave) Suite 101
New York, NY 10016
Dr. Kyle Beiter MD, OB/GYN, FCMC
(specializing in the Creighton Method – FertilityCareTM and NaProTechnology)
Gianna Center (NJ) – Catholic Healthcare for Women
254 Easton Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901