So what is Natural Family Planning?
“Natural Family Planning is a broad term that covers a lot of different methods that have occurred over the years,” says Jeanne Karnath, also a Certified FertilityCare™ Practitioner.
Mary and Jeanne teach the Creighton Model FertilityCare™ System (CrMS) of Natural Family Planning – not to be confused with the rhythm or temperature method.
Using the Creighton Model, couples chart a woman’s bodily changes throughout her cycle, and time their intercourse accordingly – during periods of fertility if they wish to conceive and periods of infertility if they don’t.
A Healthier Alternative to ContraceptionMany couples use Natural Family Planning as an alternative to contraception, a decision made for personal, religious or health reasons. For some women, the results can be surprising.
“Women cannot believe how much better they feel and how much more interested in intimacy they are,” says Mary. “Many of these women have been on contraception since high school and don’t even realize how much they enjoy being just themselves.”
Women also feel more in control of their health. “Even though they’re not necessarily doing anything to make it happen in any given way, they feel more in control of who they are.”
Shared ResponsibilityWith contraception, the responsibility of buying or using a product tends to fall on one person’s shoulders. NFP requires that both partners work together to achieve the desired outcome.
Mary’s long-time client Adrienne Mussett says that the shared responsibility has brought her and her husband, Neil, closer together.
“I didn’t feel like it was on me, and he wasn’t shut out from the process. Sometimes I talk to other couples who are on contraception, and I do hear some of that – that a woman will really feel like it’s all her, that she’s taking care of it.”
Some of Mary’s most successful couples are ones where the husband does the charting, when he plays a more active role in the process. “There is a level of communication involved that removes the burden of ‘Not tonight, dear,’ from the wife and puts it into the couple.”
More RomanceNeil Mussett agrees that NFP has improved his marriage, citing the courtship that NFP entails during periods of abstinence. “There’s a little bit of time when you have to go on a date and be more in the courting mode, as opposed to the married mode, and that’s a very nice rhythm that I think that people with contraception just don’t have.”
Western New York Catholic Weekly
Introduction to Natural Family Planning – July 25, 2010
Download this thirty-minute radio program to learn about Natural Family Planning from Jeanne Karnath and Mary Zablocki, Certified FertilityCare™ Practitioners. You'll also hear from Adrienne and Neil Mussett, who successfully used Natural Family Planning to achieve and avoid pregnancy.
Achieving Pregnancy without the GuessworkAside from preventing pregnancy, NFP can aid couples who wish to conceive. Its insights about fertility and infertility let a couple know when they are most likely to achieve pregnancy.
Adrienne and Neil, who have two daughters, can attest to the effectiveness of NFP, although Adrienne was wary at first.
“You don’t really see the benefits right away. I think when we first got married, I was very skeptical of the method,” says Adrienne. “I didn’t grow up Catholic. He had a Catholic family and was very pro-Natural Family Planning, and I was like, ‘This is all very strange.’ I didn’t think it was going to work.”
Effectiveness of Natural Family PlanningIn couples of normal fertility, 76% of couples achieve pregnancy in the first cycle of trying; 90% by the third cycle and 98% by the sixth cycle.
For couples seeking to avoid pregnancy, Mary says, “statistics bear out that we have a very good record of 97 to 99% success rate in avoiding a pregnancy.”
NFP’s success rate in avoiding pregnancy is higher than for condoms, which touts a success rate of 87%. However, Mary says that the 87% statistic is a little misleading.
“The statistics that are drawn by the CDC on condoms are drawn from a 28-day cycle, which is infertile primarily to begin with. So an 87% success rate at avoiding a pregnancy is reduced to about a 52% success rate at avoiding a pregnancy if you look at using them only during a time of fertility.”
Learning Natural Family PlanningLearning Natural Family Planning begins with a 90-minute introductory group session, followed by one-on-one appointments with a Certified FertilityCare™ Practitioner.
“Generally we see people about eight times in the first year. More if they need it, but not less,” says Jeanne.
Materials are provided for charting and tracking cycle patterns.
For more information about Natural Family Planning, visit the Catholic Health website.