Natural family planning (NFP) is using knowledge of a woman's cyclical fertility to avoid or achieve pregnancy. By identifying a woman's brief fertile window each month, a couple can choose to either unite or abstain during this time, depending on their family planning intention. It's a safe, highly effective method that can have many positive benefits.
Sounds great, right? Now you may be wondering, how do I start?
Though learning to observe and chart a woman's fertility signs isn't difficult, it is an unfamiliar skill that must be carefully learned. Thankfully, there are a variety of paths one might take to become a confident NFP user. Here is a brief overview of 3 different ways to learn.
Pros: There are many resources available such as books, websites and online forums that make learning NFP on your own possible. This can be a great method for someone who is self-motivated, detail oriented and resourceful.
Cons: When you are on your own, there is no one available to review your charts or answer your questions. Different resources may teach slightly varying guidelines and rules, which can cause confusion. This can be especially challenging for those who are postpartum, coming off the Pill, or have difficult or irregular cycles. Learning on one's own can be isolating.
2. In-person instruction
Pros: An instructor has real life experience and professional training, can personally evaluate your charts and answer any questions that might arise. They can thoroughly explain new concepts, and help to guide you through any tricky cycles or unusual circumstances. Classes are often held in small groups that allow for community building and discussion.
Cons: May be logistically tough for those with small children or busy schedules. Someone who is shy may dislike a classroom setting. You might not have an instructor in your community.
3. Online instruction
Pros: Online instruction is often a self-paced course featuring the support of a trained instructor. This can be the best of both worlds for someone looking for flexibility and guided learning.
Cons: No group discussion or community support, instructor may have a lack of knowledge of local resources.
We are blessed to live in such an exciting time when use of NFP is becoming more common, meaning that there are multiple resources and methods available. So if you're interested in learning, a little bit of research can help you find the perfect fit for you. Feel free to contact me to sign up for an online class or for help finding a local instructor in your community!
photo by freedigitalphotos/everydayplus