What is NFP?
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve and avoid pregnancies. NFP is a general name for the methods of family planning that are based on a woman’s menstrual cycle.
A man is fertile throughout his life, while a woman is fertile for only a few days each menstrual cycle during her child-bearing years. Some believe that NFP involves using a calendar to predict the fertile time. That is not what NFP is today.
A woman experiences clear, observable, natural signs indicating when she is fertile and when she is infertile. Learning to observe and understand these signs is at the heart of education in successfully using Natural Family Planning. When a couple decides to postpone pregnancy, NFP can be very effective.
NFP can also be very helpful for couples who desire to have a child because it identifies the time of ovulation. It is used by many fertility specialists for this purpose. Thus, a couple can have marital relations at a time when they know that conception is most likely to take place. These methods are based on observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Couples using NFP to avoid pregnancy abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.
What is the Standard Sympto-Thermal Method?
The Standard Sympto-Thermal method (SST) is a diocesan program, teaching a system of NFP developed through several decades of research by the late Dr. Josef Roetzer of Austria. The couple learns to interpret how three signs of fertility–cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and optionally the cervix–can reliably inform them of the times of fertility and infertility in the woman’s cycle. Special emphasis is placed on how NFP integrates into, and contributes to, a successful and happy marriage, consistent with the Church’s teachings on the human person, love, marriage, and family life.
Training for this method consists of attending 3 group classes spread out over the course of 3 months.
Additionally, an optional post-partum workshop is available to couples, whenever they need it.