The aim of NFP is to define when the fertile and infertile phases of the cycle begin and end. The rules of the different NFP methods define when the fertile and infertile phases of the cycle begin and end. When the rules of the NFP methods chosen by the couple are applied to the signs of fertility recorded on the chart, we call this natural family planning.
NFP enables couples to control their fertility without drugs or barriers. Using NFP helps people to define the fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle. In other words, by learning natural family planning the woman will learn to identify when she is potentially fertile. By recording the changes in the fertility indicators, namely cervical mucus and temperature, every day during the cycle the woman will know when she is potentially fertile, fertility awareness.
How does natural family planning define the beginning and end of the fertile phase?
Natural family planning defines when exactly the fertile phase begins and ends, and when the infertile phases begin and end, when the couple apply the rules of their chosen natural family planning method to the fertility awareness observations on the chart. The NFPTAI teach the ‘symptothermal double-check method‘ of natural family planning, so the NFPTAI apply the rules of the ‘symptothermal double-check method’ to the recorded observations on the chart to define the limits of the fertile and infertile phases of the cycle.
Natural family planning has two components:
- Fertility awareness with application of the rules of the chosen NFP method.
- Life-style attitude.
(1) Fertility Awareness:
Fertility awareness is the ability of the woman to identify the fertile and infertile phases of the cycle. Knowing the fertile days of her cycle and by adhering to the rules of their chosen natural family planning method, the couple can abstain from sexual intercourse during the fertile phase to avoid pregnancy, or can use these days for sexual intercourse in order to achieve pregnancy.
(2) ‘Life-style’ attitude :
The couple have to adjust their sexual behavior according to their family planning intention. Periodic abstinence, or not having intercourse during the fertile phase, is needed if avoiding pregnancy. This requires communication between the couple who learn to show their love in ways other than sexual intercourse during the fertile phase if they wish to avoid pregnancy. Couples who respect their shared fertility in this way find that their relationship is stronger and becomes one of greater respect and consideration for each other.
When is the fertile phase?
The fertile phase of the cycle occurs around the time a mature ovum is released by the ovary into the fallopian tube (ovulation), ready for fertilisation and includes the six days or so leading up to ovulation. The phases of the menstrual cycle before and after the fertile phase are infertile.
To be most effective, the woman must be taught the Symptothermal Double-Check Method of Natural Family Planning by a qualified natural family planning teacher.