Natural family planning
Novant Health Triad Obstetrics & Gynecology takes a pro-life, non-contraceptive approach to women's health. Natural family planning (NFP) is at the center of this approach. It can help couples achieve or avoid pregnancy by understanding a woman's menstrual cycle and planning intercourse accordingly. It is based on observing physiological changes. It is an alternative to hormonal birth control or forms of barrier contraception including condoms.
You might have heard people refer to natural family planning as non-hormonal contraception or natural contraception; these are incorrect terms. NFP is not contraception; it is a tool to achieve or avoid pregnancy by better understanding your body and natural cycles.
Why people choose natural family planning
There are many reasons why people choose natural family planning instead of hormonal birth control. The method is 100% natural and does nothing to work against conception. Also called the fertility awareness method, NFP is embraced by women who have had bad reactions to other forms of birth control, couples looking to eliminate the ongoing cost of hormonal birth control and couples wanting to understand fertility better.
Some methods of natural family planning including the Creighton Model Fertility Care System also can offer your provider valuable information about your health.
How natural family planning works
Natural family planning is very different than the rhythm method you might have heard about. While the rhythm method was based on averages of cycle lengths to determine fertile periods, NFP is highly personalized. It has two main components:
- Using a woman's signs of fertility to determine fertile and infertile times during her cycle. Couples wishing to prevent pregnancy practice abstinence during fertile times.
- Breastfeeding babies frequently and consistently after birth. This consistent feeding (called ecological breastfeeding) works to create natural infertility for a period (on average 14-15 months) after the birth of a child.
The Creighton Model Fertility Care System is one form of natural family planning our office recommends. In the Creighton Model, couples begin by understanding the phases of the menstrual cycle (pre-ovulation, ovulation and post-ovulation). Then, they learn how factors including cervical mucus can indicate when phases begin and end. By carefully monitoring and tracking these changes, couples can determine when a woman is fertile, and when to have intercourse to achieve or avoid pregnancy.
Our providers and members of our office staff are trained in the Creighton Model and can explain how to use this method or another method of natural family planning that works for you. Once you learn about an NFP method and begin implementing it, you will have frequent follow-up appointments in our office to make sure you are achieving your goals with the system and to answer any questions you have.
To learn more about natural family planning or to get help with NFP charting, make an appointment with a provider in our office.
Hear Dr. Lipscomb discuss natural family planning