Natural Family Planning

Discover resources for learning more about Natural Family Planning methods. Please note, if you are looking for local instructors, let us know. During the pandemic, your best bet is online instruction.

The world does not need what women have. The world needs what women are.
—  Edith Stein

Fertility Awareness

Also known as Natural Family Planning

Helps you:

  • Understand a woman’s biology, her natural cycles of fertility and infertility
  • See if the phases of a healthy menstrual cycle are all in place and in balance
  • Strengthen communication with your spouse
  • Share the responsibility of reproduction between husband and wife
  • Achieve or avoid pregnancy

It is:

  • Safe, natural, and effective
  • Scientifically researched
  • Without side-effects
  • Inexpensive

Learn About NFP Methods

Natural Family Planning Resources

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is based on awareness of a woman’s fertility through observation of the naturally occurring signs of fertility in a woman’s body. Couples who practice NFP communicate regularly regarding these signs and their ongoing discernment about achieving or avoiding pregnancy. NFP also helps women effectively monitor their overall reproductive health across the lifespan.

Natural Family Planning Links

Advantages of Natural Family Planning

USCCB Links

Medically Safe
Because NFP is 100 percent natural, it is 100 percent safe and has no health risks. NFP does not use potentially harmful birth control drugs or devices.

Increased Health Awareness
Because NFP teaches a woman to become aware of her normal fertility pattern, changes in the pattern can alert her to possible medical problems.

Effectiveness
NFP is 99 percent effective in postponing pregnancy – the same effectiveness range as hormonal methods and more effective than devices, creams and other artificial methods.

Low Cost
NFP costs significantly less than other forms of birth control. After learning it, there are no continuing costs other than nominal fees associated with purchasing charts as might be needed.

Helpful for Achieving Pregnancy
Couples can change their timing as needed. There is no waiting period and no damage to the woman’s fertility, as can happen with some artificial methods.

More Satisfying Marriage
Most couples report NFP has a positive effect on their marriages. They find periodic abstinence helps keep their relationship fresh, improves their communication and gives them a deeper respect for each other. Couples also like having a morally consistent message to give their children about sexuality.

Morally Acceptable
All major religious bodies, including the Catholic Church, accept the use of NFP by married couples when there are just reasons to postpone pregnancy. The Catholic Church, along with some Jewish, Orthodox and Protestant Churches, clearly teach it is wrong to use artificial methods of birth control. Additionally, hormonal birth control can cause very early abortions by preventing new life from implanting in the mother’s uterus.

Humanae vitae, Pope St. Pope Paul VI (1968)

Humanae vitae Events and Resources

The HUMANAE VITAE 50TH ANNIVERSARY SYMPOSIUM held at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC on April 4-6, 2018 and co-sponsored by the bishops' Committee for Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth and funded in part by Our Sunday Visitor Institute. The papers from this important event are published by The Catholic University of America Press. To view videos of the presentations see the USCCB YouTube page. To learn about Catholic theological defense of Humanae vitae visit "Affirmation of the Church's Teachings on the Gift of Human Sexuality," The School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America. 

Humanae Vitae, 50 Years Later, Embracing God's Vision for Marriage, Love and Life, A Compendium is available from The Catholic University of America Press (2019). Edited by Theresa Notare, Ph.D., Assistant Director, NFP Program, USCCB, this book features the papers from the 2018 Humanae vitae 50th anniversary symposium held at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC (April 4-6). Orders, 1-800-537-5487. The book received a 2020 Catholic Press Association award for second place in the category of anthologies.

Humanae vitae 50th Anniversary Prayers