Natural family planning (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 cycle during child-bearing years. Modern methods of NFP are based on extensive medical research and are able to account for variable length cycles. A woman experiences clear, observable 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 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 occur.
The Belleville Diocese does not require engaged couples to attend a course in Natural Family Planning, but some parishes do require couples to attend an introductory class or full class series. We strongly encourage engaged couples to learn about NFP as part of their marriage preparation even if it is not required as part of their marriage preparation. Couples who practice NFP typically experience increased communication, a deeper respect for one another and a lower divorce rate compared to couples who don't practice NFP. The Diocesan Office of Worship publishes a schedule of Pre-Cana and Engaged Encounter weekends. Some Pre-Cana and Engaged Encounters in the diocese include a talk on NFP. If you are attending one of these and are interested in learning about NFP, please contact us and we can let you know if NFP will be discussed. Alternatively, FertilityCare Services of Belleville offers 1-hour long introductory sessions that provide a brief overview of one method of NFP and it's medical basis.