Natural Family Planning

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What is Natural Family Planning?

NFP is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve or avoid pregnancy. These methods are based on the observation and interpretation of the naturally occurring biological markers of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

There are a number of natural biological markers used in modern methods of NFP to determine the start, peak and end of the fertile time. One marker that can be monitored is the mucus released from the cervix. This cervical mucus can be felt and seen externally. A woman learns to identify a changing cervical mucus pattern, which identifies the start, peak and end of the fertile phase of the cycle. A second marker that can be monitored is a woman’s basal body temperature (body temperature at rest). Due to hormonal activity, a woman's resting temperature changes during her menstrual cycle. The temperature pattern identifies the end of the fertile phase of the cycle. Finally, the levels of two key fertility hormones can be simply monitored by the use of The Clearblue Fertility Monitor® to identify the start, peak and end of the fertile time. Observing, recording and interpreting one or all of the biological markers of fertility and infertility forms the basis for all methods of NFP.

In the Archdiocese of Boston, instruction is offered in three Natural Family Planning Methods: Sympto-Thermal, and Sympto-Hormonal, Cervical Mucus Methods.

Sympto - Thermal Method

The Sympto-Thermal Method is based on the observation and interpretation of changes in basal body temperature, cervical mucus and the cervix to determine the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle.  Instruction is available in the following Sympto-Thermal Methods; Archdiocese of Boston Cross-Check and Couple to Couple League.

Cervical Mucus Methods

These Methods are based on the observation and interpretation of changes in cervical mucus to determine the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle.  Instruction is available in the following Cervical Mucus Methods; Billings Ovulation Method and Creighton Model FertilityCare Method.

Sympto-Hormonal Method

The Sympto-Hormonal method is based on the observation and interpretation of changes in cervical mucus, basal body temperature and includes hormonal monitoring with the Clearblue Fertility Monitor™ to determine the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle.  Instruction is available in the following Sympto-Hormonal Methods; Archdiocese of Boston Cross-Check Method.