Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Children too are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5
Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table.
Psalm 128: 3-4
Did you know?!
- NFP is not the old rhythm method?
- NFP is equal to, if not better than, modern contraceptives in avoiding pregnancy?
- NFP can be an aid in achieving pregnancy?
- NFP can be used by any woman in all stages of reproductive life?
- NFP (Creighton model) classes are available in Yuba City?
Dr. Gretchen Marsh is our local instructor and coordinator. For more information please contact Email her at:
Natural Family Planning Coordinator
What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
What's the difference between NFP and Contraception?
Values: Contraception vs. NFP?
What does the World vs. the Church teach about Human Sexuality?
What does NFP do for you?
Women make and record observations of cervical mucus, temperature, and cervical conformation. In the Creighton model, women make only external observations using toilet tissue when they normally use the bathroom. Because external observations have been studied and correlated with hormone analysis and ultrasound in past studies, women can rapidly develop confidence that the observations she is making are reflective of her fertility cycles.
By knowing and understanding the cycles of fertility, the couple can make decision together on how to use those days. The couple can mutually decide if they want to avoid or to achieve pregnancy on any given day. This gives both the man and the woman input and responsibility for their combined fertility.
Fertility patterns can change during life such as during breastfeeding, stress, and menopause. Women are also taught how to analyze their patterns during these changes thereby making NFP a credible family planning system throughout a woman's reproductive life.
NFP is not the rhythm method, "Roman Roulette," or "Catholic contraception." The rhythm method was based on the calendar and was the first attempt by scientists to understand the human female fertility cycle. Ogino of Japan and Knaus of Austria separately discovered in 1930 that ovulation is related to the following menstrual flow, not the previous flow. Unfortunately, much of the old statistics of the rhythm method are thrown in with NFP data by people who do not understand that there is a difference.
Contraception Natural Family Planning
...takes a fertile act & makes it sterile
...takes a fertile act & abstains ...takes the gift of fertility & breaks it ...takes the gift of fertility and respects & protects it ...the couple intentionally sterilizes sexual intercourse ...the couple intentionally refrains from intercourse ...total gift of self is not achieved ...total gift of self is achieved ...God is invited into the marriage except the bedroom ...God is invited into the marriage including the bedroom ...divorce rate exceeds 50% ...divorce rate less than 2%-3% ...pregnancy is viewed as a failure ...pregnancy is viewed as a blessing ...actual use rate of avoiding pregnancy with best contraceptive (the pill): 91.7% (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1992) ...actual use of avoiding pregnancy published data: 96.7% (Journal of Reproductive Medicine, June 1998) ...multiple side effects including nausea, high blood pressure, blood clots, decreased libido, liver tumors, breast cancer and abortion ...natural, no side effects, minimal cost, educates about women's health, helps infertile couples
We must ask ourselves who we really believe is the author of marriage and of life? Us or God? Marital intercourse is the expression of the marital covenant - total, faithful, and free gift of self.
(C. West: Good News About Sex & Marriage)
In sexual intercourse we bare not only our bodies but our souls as well. Contraceptive sex even in marriage is not total, faithful, and free because the total person is not given. On the other hand, marital sex that is open to life (meaning open to God) is liberating and affirming. A couple using NFP waits for intercourse until they can give totally (i.e., during the infertile time of the cycle). In the fertile phase, a couple not seeking pregnancy continues to develop their sexual relationship - spiritually, intellectually, creatively, emotionally. If they focus on the physical, they they will miss out on so much of their spouse's personality.
We must be very careful how we use our sexuality because it is key in the transmission of life. When we trivialize sexuality and fertility, we are in grave danger of trivializing life. With NFP, we are responsible stewards of life. Remaining always open to new life doesn't mean always a pregnancy. It means we are always open to God's will. This is no different than conforming our will to God's will in the rest of our lives. Additionally, remaining open to life means we are also open to our spouses.
With contraception we become masters of life. We start believing that pregnancy is a failure. This is illogical because sexual intercourse is designed for babies and bonding. It means we are only sometimes open to life. It follows that we are not always open to God, the Author of Life. This mindset will affect all other aspects of our lives including our relationship with our spouse.
What the World Teaches: What the Church Teaches: Sexuality involves genitals only Sexuality involves the total person: spirit, body, intellect, emotion The Goal is self-gratification The Goal is unity & generosity - whole & holy union that is open to life Focus is on individual's own physical pleasure Focus is on total & reciprocal self-giving which includes physical pleasure Self-denial will reduce the individual's pleasure Chastity & periodic abstinence will lead to self-mastery Children are by-products of sex Children are gifts resulting from the holy trinity of husband+wife+God Virginity is an abnormal state Virginity is a gift to be given to a spouse or to God - it is honored. THEREFORE A person is disintegrated into parts with priority given to the physical The whole person remains intact Fertility is the woman's problem Fertility is a shared responsibility Fertility is a disease Fertility is appreciated Children are valued only if wanted Children are cherished - planned or unplanned Relationships should never impede an individual's progress toward self-fulfillment and are therefore impermanent Relationships continually grow in all aspects because of freedom to love & be loved as a total person Love ends at the individual Love grows and multiplies endlessly The Church does NOT teach that couples must have large families. Couples are to embrace responsible parenthood where in couples collaborate with God in the generation and education of new lives. There may be serious reasons to space children, temporarily or permanently. These may include physical, psychological, or external reasons. The number and spacing of children is left to the couple's conscience that is properly conformed to God's will. (Human Vitae, 1968)
Can be used to avoid or to achieve pregnancy. (Use effectiveness rate to avoid is 96.7%. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, June 1998)
Extremely low divorce rate associated with users. (<2%-3%)
Can be helpful to couples with infertility.
Educates about her health which raises self-esteem.
No side effects such as high blood pressure, loss of libido (sex drive), depression, liver tumors, procedures, infections, breast cancer, abortions.
Early detection of disease because she is recording observations in a medically relevant way.
Can be used throughout reproductive life in different situations such as breastfeeding, menopause, post-pill, etc.
Educates about woman's health which raises respect for her.
No "suiting up" for sex (condoms).
Liberates him from society stereotypes by allowing a man to live in the freedom of self-mastery.
Allows a man to be intimately involved and responsible in the care of shared fertility.
Apparently most of the medical community does not accept that there is an association of breast cancer and the birth control pill. However, there are points to consider like the following three:
1) The analysis of the statistics by Christopher Kahlenborn, M.D. in Breast Cancer: Its link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, (One More Soul, 2002).
2) The prospective study on hormone replacement therapy published Spring, 2002 has shown a strong increase in breast cancer risk in those women who use hormone replacement for greater than 5 years. The risk increse was so apparent that the study was stopped early in order to inform the participants and the medical community.
3) Norcal Mutual Professional Liability Insurance stated in its June 2002 newsletter on breast cancer that the company is tracking history of oral contraceptives usa as a risk factor.
Additional Natural Family Planning Resources:
The Creighton Model Fertility Care System has been extensively evaluated over the past 22 years through research first at St. Louis University and Creighton University Schools of Medicine and most recently at the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction (Omaha, Nebraska). It is a system that accurately monitors reproductive and gynecologic health and can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy. The current trend toward managing human fertility in ways that are either suppressive or destructive (contraception, sterilization, abortion, in vitro fertilization, etc.) cannot be healthful for women and are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This model is medically safe, it respects the dignity of women and the integrity of marriage, it cooperates with the procreative system and does not suppress it and it is effective. It allows for the first time the opportunity to network family planning with reproductive and gynecologic health maintenance. It is a system that is morally acceptable to all people. It is a system for every woman for her entire reproductive life. You can log on to their website at: http://www.popepaulvi.com/Fert_Care1.htm
The CCL is an international, interfaith, nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching Natural Family Planning (NFP) to married and engaged couples. In addition the CCL produces audio-visual presentations and publications on several related subjects, such as pre-marital chastity, introductions to NFP for young people and marriage preparation groups, and materials encouraging full-time mothering. You can log on to their website at: http://www.ccli.org/about/index.shtml