When used to avoid pregnancy, Natural Family Planning is 99% effective. There are several important things to know, however, about how to achieve this high effectiveness.

#1 – When one is learning NFP, it’s important to learn it from a certified instructor.

As an instructor myself, I have not met one person who charts perfectly the first cycle, or one who understands the method fully even after the first Introductory Session. The method itself is fairly straightforward, but when applying the method to her own observations, or when learning how to make observations accurately, there are often questions that arise. A woman with regular and textbook cycles may have a certain amount of success with the method, but the woman who learns from the internet or by reading a book will likely have gaps in her knowledge which will reduce the couple’s ability to use NFP with the highest effectiveness.


#2 – It’s important to have fairly regular contact with your instructor.

The cycles of a 20-year-old, will likely not be the same as her cycles when she is 30 or 40 or 45. A woman may have confidence in using NFP and in understanding her body but changes in health, stress, the births of children, breastfeeding, entering pre-menopause, or even simply growing older are all situations that can cause a change from what a woman may typically see in her cycle. Anytime a couple has questions or has any confusion, it’s important that they feel comfortable reaching out to their instructor again. I really can’t emphasize the importance of not going it alone. Days, weeks, or even months of uncertainty can lead to a lot of frustration, and mistakes in charting. A quick phone call or email message to your instructor can often give you a quick answer, more understanding, and peace of mind. To achieve the 99% effectiveness, be sure to continue contact even after the initial instructional period is over. It may be years between contact and that’s okay, but anytime you have questions, just reach out!


#3 – Charting is a must.

Sometimes when couples use NFP for a number of years and become very confident in using it, there can be the temptation to get a little lazy. Sometimes a woman will make observations and note what part of her cycle she is likely in, but she stops actually charting. Sixty years of research by the various methods have shown that a failure to chart is very risky. In fact, some methods assert that ceasing charting may be a sign of a subconscious desire to conceive! Yes, charting is important.


#4 – Follow the recommendations of your instructor.

Yes, I’ve just stated the obvious. Couples that do not follow their instructor’s recommendations will likely not use NFP to 99% effectiveness. In a sense, couples who use NFP get to choose how effective they want it to be. If they have very strong reasons to avoid a pregnancy, they should follow (and they typically DO follow) the rules for avoiding pregnancy very well. If couples choose to take a risk and have marital relations around the edges of her fertility, well, of course their chances of conceiving are going to be greater than the usual 1%. If they are okay with taking such a risk and are okay with greater chances of conceiving, then that’s fine too. They get to choose.

Posted by: April

photo credit: jDevaun via photopin cc