NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING
Children too are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5
Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table.
Psalm 128: 3-4
Did you know that
Natural Family Planning...
- is not the old rhythm method?
- embraces the Church's teaching on sexuality and responsible parenthood while all other methods go against this teaching?
- is equal to, if not better than, all other methods in avoiding pregnancy?
- can be used by any couple in all stages of reproductive life?
- is associated with a very low divorce rate (<2%)?
- has no side effects, is very low cost, and aids a woman in understanding her health?
- that NFP (Creighton model) classes are available in Yuba City?
Dr. Gretchen Marsh is our local instructor and coordinator. For more information please Email her at:
Natural Family Planning Coordinator
What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
What's the difference between NFP and Contraception?
Values: Contraception vs. NFP?
What does the World vs. the Church teach about Human Sexuality?
What does NFP do for you?
Why does the Catholic Church teach against contraception?
Links to additional NFP Resources
Women make and record observations of cervical mucus, temperature, and cervical conformation. In the Creighton model, women make only external observations using toilet tissue when they normally use the bathroom. Because external observations have been studied and correlated with hormone analysis and ultrasound in past studies, women can rapidly develop confidence that the observations she is making are reflective of her fertility cycles.
By knowing and understanding the cycles of fertility, the couple can make decision together on how to use those days. The couple can mutually decide if they want to avoid or to achieve pregnancy on any given day. This gives both the man and the woman input and responsibility for their combined fertility.
Fertility patterns can change during life such as during breastfeeding, stress, and menopause. Women are also taught how to analyze their patterns during these changes thereby making NFP a credible family planning system throughout a woman's reproductive life.
NFP is not the rhythm method, "Roman Roulette," or "Catholic contraception." The rhythm method was based on the calendar and was the first attempt by scientists to understand the human female fertility cycle. Ogino of Japan and Knaus of Austria separately discovered in 1930 that ovulation is related to the following menstrual flow, not the previous flow. Unfortunately, much of the old statistics of the rhythm method are thrown in with NFP data by people who do not understand that there is a difference.
Contraception Natural Family Planning
...takes the gift of fertility act & breaks it
Takes the gift of fertility and respects & protects it ...the couple intentionally sterilizes sexual intercourse The couple intentionally refrains from intercourse ...total gift of self is not achieved Total gift of self is achieved ...God is invited into the marriage except the bedroom ...God is invited into the marriage including the bedroom ...divorce rate is very high Divorce rate <2-3% Takes a fertile act & makes it sterile Takes a fertile act & abstains ...pregnancy is viewed as a failure Pregnancy is viewed as a blessing ...actual use rate of avoiding pregnancy with the pill contraceptive: 91.7% - 95% Actual use of avoiding pregnancy: 96.7% (Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 6/98) ...multiple side effects including nausea, high blood pressure, blood clots, decreased libido, liver tumors, post-fertilization effects (ArchFamMed2/00), burden of responsibility on the woman ...no side effects, minimal cost, educates about women's health, helps infertile couples, fosters communication
We must ask ourselves who we really believe is the author of marriage and of life? God or Us? Marital intercourse is the expression of the marital covenant - total, faithful, free, life giving gift of self...an icon of the Holy Trinity. (C. West: Good News About Sex & Marriage)
Authentic sexuality means you bare your soul as well as your body and this makes one very uncomfortable. Most folks are afraid of such vulnerability because they risk rejection of their very being, that their love won't be returned. It is just easier to set up barriers and make a game of it. Sexuality then becomes merely genitals, just another bodily function, just about ourselves.
By entering into responsible parenthood (HV), one affirms the very goodness of being man or woman. Our masculinity or femininity is not neutered by medications or devices but is seen as complimentary and life giving. By recognizing this plain fact and working with it rather than against it, on can participate in and enjoy the entire gift of sexuality, not just the physical aspect. With NFP, we are responsible stewards of life. Remaining always open to new life doesn't always mean a pregnancy. It simply means we are always open to God's will just as we are to be in the rest of our lives. By giving ourselves totally in a responsible way for our spouse, our marriage will be a reflection of the inner icon of God.
Contraceptives sterilize sex and help to sterilize relationships because the total person is not given. With contraception, we start believing the pregnancy is a failure. This is illogical. On the other hand, marital sex that is open to life (meaning open to God) is liberating and affirming. A couple who prayerfully discerns that they are not ready for a pregnancy, waits for intercourse until they can give totally (i.e., during the infertile time of the cycle). In the fertile phase, a couple not seeking pregnancy continues to develop their sexual relationship - spiritually, intellectually, creatively, emotionally. If they focus only on the physical, then they will miss out on so much of their spouse's personality.
Sexuality is key in the transmission of life. When we trivialize sexuality, we are in grave danger of trivializing life. God is trying to tell us something about Himself through the gift of sexuality. He loves us with such an intensity and permanence that that aspect of His love is to be reflected in a lifelong, covenantal bond of marriage, made manifest especially in the marital embrace. To trivialize this gift is to trivialize Him.
What the World Teaches: What the Church Teaches: Sexuality involves genitals only Sexuality involves the total person: spirit, body, intellect, emotion The Goal is self-gratification The Goal is unity & generosity - whole & holy union that is open to life Focus is on individual's own physical pleasure Focus is on total & reciprocal self-giving which includes physical pleasure Self-denial will reduce the individual's pleasure Chastity & periodic abstinence will lead to self-mastery Children are by-products of sex Children are gifts resulting from the holy trinity of husband+wife+God Virginity is an abnormal state Virginity is a gift to be given to a spouse or to God - it is honored. THEREFORE A person is disintegrated into parts with priority given to the physical The whole person remains intact Fertility is the woman's problem Fertility is a shared responsibility Fertility is a disease Fertility is appreciated Children are valued only if wanted Children are cherished - planned or unplanned Relationships should never impede an individual's progress toward self-fulfillment and are therefore impermanent Relationships continually grow in all aspects because of freedom to love & be loved as a total person Love ends at the individual Love grows and multiplies endlessly The Church does NOT teach that couples must have large families. Couples are to embrace responsible parenthood where in couples collaborate with God in the generation and education of new lives. There may be serious reasons to space children, temporarily or permanently. These may include physical, psychological, or external reasons. The number and spacing of children is left to the couple's conscience that is properly conformed to God's will. (Human Vitae, 1968)
Can be used to avoid or to achieve pregnancy. (Use effectiveness rate to avoid is 96.7%. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, June 1998)
Extremely low divorce rate associated with users. (<2%-3%)
Can be helpful to couples with infertility.
Educates about her health which raises self-esteem.
No side effects such as high blood pressure, loss of libido (sex drive), depression, liver tumors, procedures, infections, breast cancer, abortions.
Early detection of disease because she is recording observations in a medically relevant way.
Can be used throughout reproductive life in different situations such as breastfeeding, menopause, post-pill, etc.
Educates about woman's health which raises respect for her.
No "suiting up" for sex (condoms).
Liberates him from society stereotypes by allowing a man to live in the freedom of self-mastery.
Allows a man to be intimately involved and responsible in the care of shared fertility.
Most of the medical community does not accept that there is an association of breast cancer and the birth control pill. However, points to consider are:
1) The analysis of the statistics by Christopher Kahlenborn, M.D. in Breast Cancer: Its link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, (One More Soul, 2002).
2) The prospective study on hormone replacement therapy published Spring, 2002 has shown a strong increase in breast cancer risk in those women who use hormone replacement for greater than 5 years. The risk increase was so apparent that the study was stopped early in order to inform the participants and the medical community.
3) Norcal Mutual Professional Liability Insurance stated in its June 2002 newsletter on breast cancer that the company is tracking history of oral contraceptives use as a risk factor.
4) All estrogens used in replacement therapies and contraceptives were listed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as "know human carcinogens" on December 11, 2002. The director of NIEHS stated that the entire class of steroidal estrogens have been put in the category of greatest hazard. The official list of carcinogens is mandated by Congress and produced every two years.
5) The retrospective study reporting no risk of breast cancer associated with the pill (NEJM, 2002) was seriously flawed in that the control group differed in 7 different areas including family history of breast cancer.
Fertility is a gift from God. As with any gift from God, we should be responsible stewards of the gift and cooperate with it,
not block it (the pill, condoms, IUD, diaphragm, withdrawal, etc.)
not disregard it (irresponsible sexual intercourse)
not throw it away (vasectomy, tubal ligation).
Contraception is literally "against the beginning." It logically follows that a society that is against the beginning will be against the middle and the end. For example, partial birth abortion, embryonic destruction after harvesting embryo stem cells, and euthanasia are now employed by our society. This mentality opens the door to focusing only on the physical for all people. A person who is considered only physical or subhuman can be rendered disposable when no longer useful or wanted. For example, consider slave labor, pornography, human embryos, the holocaust, etc. We must be very careful how we use our sexuality because it is key in the transmission of life. When we trivialize sexuality and fertility, we are in grave danger of trivializing life itself.
Pope John Paul II in Familaris Consortio (1981): "The choice of the natural rhythms involves accepting the cycle of the person, that is the woman, and thereby accepting dialogue, reciprocal respect, shared responsibility, and self-control." (paragraph 32) Pope Paul VI in Humane Vitae (1968): "Indeed, it is to be feared that husbands who become accustomed to contraceptive practices will lose respect for their wives. They may come to disregard their wife's psychological and physical equilibrium and use their wives as instruments for serving their own desires. Consequently, they will no longer view their wives as companions who should be treated with attentiveness and love."
Non-Catholics share the same point of view:
Gandhi stated (1925): "I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love.
Washington Post (March 22, 1931): Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee's report (to allow marital contraception) carried into effect would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution, by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptive would be "careful and restrained" is preposterous. (Written in response to Anglican Church and Federal Council of Churches, USA, decisions to allow contraception in marriage in 1930.)
Charles D. Provan, Protestant minister and John T. Noonan, Jr., Jurist, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, concur with the Catholic Church in their respective books, The Bible & Birth Control (June 1989) and Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists (1965).