What is Natural Family Planning?

By Dustin | Sex & Family Planning

What is Natural Family Planning?

If you read my introductory post on Sex & Family Planning, you already know that my wife and I practice Natural Family Planning.  We are passionate about this topic and actually feel like it is one of the best things that has happened to our marriage.

One of the inspirations behind starting this website was a desire to spread the word about NFP and let other couples know about it.

While I would be happy to actually motivate others to try it in their marriage and ecstatic to hear from even one couple that becomes regular users of this method as a result of this site, my primary goal is simply to inform others about Natural Family Planning so they become aware of it as an option.

So, let’s use this post to just start with the basics.

So, Just What is Natural Family Planning?

Simply put, Natural Family Planning is fertility awareness; the knowledge of when a woman is fertile and when she is infertile.  We will discuss the specifics in later posts, but basically a woman is only fertile for a few days during each menstrual cycle.  If you can reliably identify those days, you can either avoid or achieve pregnancy…naturally.

Let’s use some easy-to-follow bullet points to better define NFP:

– It’s a natural method that uses no forms of artificial birth control.

  • That’s right, no birth control pills, no condoms, no IUDs, no shots, no nothin.’

– The couple uses proven signs to track the woman’s fertility cycle.

– Couples generally use a “Sympto-Thermal” method for tracking.

  • “Thermal” is a fancy way of saying the gal takes her temperature each morning before she gets out of bed (called her basal body temperature).
  • “Sympto” just means that there are obvious signs a woman’s body gives indicating where she is in the fertility cycle.
  • These signs are related primarily to her mucus (yes, down there) and her cervix (though those observations are optional).

– Using well-documented and exhaustively researched guidance, you can accurately determine when a woman is fertile and when she is not.

– If you want to avoid pregnancy during a given month, you simply abstain from sex during the fertile times (this is only a small portion of the cycle, so don’t worry too much).

– If you want to get pregnant, you’ll know the days that you really don’t want to miss!

– NFP is 99% effective.  Really.

    There you have it.  You now have a solid understanding of what it means to practice Natural Family Planning.

    And I’m sure you have many more questions about the specifics of NFP, the benefits, the challenges.  Maybe you are curious how my wife and I discovered NFP and why we are so fired up about it.  And just why haven’t you heard more about Natural Family Planning before?  Is this stuff only for hardcore religious freaks or what?

    For a bit more insight, please check out this cool video about NFP and how it fits into a healthy marriage.

    Stay tuned and I promise you will become well informed!  In the meantime, please post a comment with your own thoughts, questions or experiences with NFP.

    Photo by jonrawlinson

    About the Author

    Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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