What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
What is NFP?
Natural Family Planning, or NFP, is a way of managing your fertility without hormones or barriers. NFP works through fertility awareness. Couples learn how to identify the days during each reproductive cycle on which it is possible to conceive. Using this knowledge, couples either abstain from intercourse on fertile days to avoid pregnancy, or engage in intercourse during that time in the hopes of becoming pregnant. Intercourse outside of the fertile window is naturally infertile. On infertile days couples aiming to avoid pregnancy can engage in intercourse freely. Numerous forms of NFP exist, and each is a little different in the fertile signs it uses to determine fertile days.
As the woman’s menstrual cycle progresses, hormone levels fluctuate. Hormone surges cause the woman’s body to exhibit physical signs and symptoms, indicators of the hormonal changes that are happening internally. Other NFP methods teach women how to interpret these signals to help identify the days leading up to ovulation and the days following ovulation. The most significant external fertile signs include: the presence, absence, consistency, and quality of cervical mucus; shifts in a women’s basal body temperature; and the changing position of a woman’s cervix
How is the Marquette Method Different?
The Marquette Method of NFP is different than most other methods of NFP because it involves monitoring the reproductive hormone levels themselves rather than the external signs of changing hormonal activity.
The Marquette Method can be far more effective than the “calendar” and “rhythm” methods used in decades past. These older methods do not track fertile signs, they assume fertility or infertility based on the cycle day. For women who have regular and predictable cycles, these methods are shown to be effective. However, for women who experience varying days of ovulation, or who qualify as a ‘special circumstance’ such as breastfeeding or perimenopause, a hormone based method of NFP will be much more effective. Research has shown that for some women the day of ovulation (and thus the fertile window) can vary considerably from cycle to cycle.
The Marquette Method of NFP, in contrast, tracks a women’s hormones daily and uses that information in real-time to determine the beginning and ending of fertility in each cycle. When used correctly, the Marquette Method of NFP is as effective as most forms of contraception at avoiding pregnancy.
Benefits of NFP
Couples from all walks of life turn to NFP to manage their fertility in a natural, holistic way. Some are drawn to the method for religious and moral reasons, and in a deep belief that they are called to live their married life in accordance with their body’s design. Others turn to NFP when they realize that, for them, hormonal birth control comes along with unpleasant side effects such as mood disorders, headaches, nausea, weight gain, or decreased libido. Many couples also wish to forego condoms and other barriers, and choose to practice NFP to deepen their intimacy. Deciding to practice NFP and choosing which method will work best for you is a very personal decision. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn the Marquette Method of NFP, we welcome you.
Want to know more?
Sign up for a free consultation with a Marquette Method instructor. I can answer any questions you have about the method or our training packages, and can help you decide if the Marquette Method will be a good fit for you.
Ready to get started?
Vitae Fertility Education offers comprehensive training packages in-person and online that are tailored to your needs and your schedule.