Natural Family Planning

What is Natural Family Planning?

In today’s fast paced society, many couples are confused and apprehensive about family planning methods. We often make decisions without sufficient knowledge of our own healthy reproductive systems. Most couples are unaware of Natural Family Planning and its benefits.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is knowledge and understanding of our natural fertility and infertility. It is acceptance and respect for our combined fertility as a couple. NFP can be used to achieve or postpone pregnancy without use of drugs, devices, or chemicals to alter the reproductive systems.

How does NFP work?

All natural methods are based on the woman’s patterns of fertility and infertility. Utilizing daily observations of signs and symptoms which normally occur in every woman and reflect hormonal changes, a couple can learn to identify the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle. If a couple wishes to achieve pregnancy, they can be aware of the best days for this to occur. If they wish to avoid pregnancy, they can abstain from intercourse and genital contact during the fertile time. Together, the couple learns to understand and accept their combined fertility and live in harmony with it.

Is NFP Reliable and Efective?

Yes, NFP is used as effectively as artificial methods to postpone pregnancy. It can be used successfully in all variations of a woman’s reproductive life, including irregular cycles, breast feeding, premenopause and low fertility. The United States Department of Health and Human Services and World Health Organization have both found Natural Family Planning methods, when properly used, have a 98-99 percent effectiveness rate. Modern NFP is not the Rhythm Method and is not “Just for Catholics.”

How can we learn more about NFP?

Gaining the maximum effectiveness possible from natural methods requires proper and in-depth instruction. Class hours present the theory, but each couple must see how it applies to them. Observation of several cycles, under the guidance of the instructor, is necessary to allow for variations to occur and to assure that the fertility signs are correctly understood. Natural Family Planning classes are taught by trained and dedicated teachers who use Natural Family Planning themselves.

What is the class schedule?

Instruction consists of five class sessions and chart observations with additional follow-up as required by each individual couple. Instructions are also available for after childbirth, breastfeeding, and approaching menopause. The class fee includes materials and instructions. After the initial cost of instruction, Natural Family Planning is free over a lifetime.

Advantages of Natural Methods

  • Natural Family Planning is natural and therefore completely harmless.
  • NFP enables pregnancies to be planned.
  • Both the man and the woman share the responsibilities of family planning.
  • It is easy to learn and costs little.
  • NFP is based on sound scientific knowledge.
  • It can assist many infertile couples to achieve pregnancy.
  • This method promotes romance and communication between the husband and wife.
  • NFP can deepen a couple’s intimacy and strengthen their marriage relationship.
  • Natural Family Planning is morally acceptable to all.
  • The challenge to live in harmony with one’s fertility is often the most exciting and meaningful feature of using natural methods.
  • Most couples find that the love and respect that each holds for the other grows as understanding and appreciation of their fertility increases.
  • Natural Family Planning is firmly based on a respect for human life, human dignity and the nobility of the family.


Natural Family Planning is a community education service of the Women’s Pavilion at Mercy Medical Center. This service is offered in cooperation with and under the guidance of Office of Pro-Life, Marriage and Family Ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown. This service is available to people of all faiths. Its purpose is to strengthen families by helping couples understand and appreciate God’s gifts of love, life, fertility and sexuality.

For more information about Natural Family Planning, or to schedule a tour, call 330-489-1329 or 1-800-223-8662.


Natural Family PlanningView the brochure for this in PDF format