Fertility Awareness and Women's Health
Fertility Awareness methods are scientific tools that empower men and women to understand their fertility and the role hormones play in their overall health. The female body is impacted by more than a dozen hormones each menstrual cycle. By learning to identify the signs of the fertile and infertile phases of her cycle, a woman can learn how these hormones impact her fertility and her mental and physical wellbeing.
Scientific advances have shown the various fertility awareness health models to be of tremendous assistance in identifying and treating the root causes of disorders such as ovarian cysts, hormone disorders, acne, miscarriage, PMS, infertility, perimenopausal symptoms, and more. For women in child-bearing years, science is showing ovulatory function to be just as important for assessing a woman's overall health as body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiration rate. Because of this, single women and teens can benefit from learning to understand their reproductive cycles long before they discern marriage or start families.
Natural Family Planning
The Catholic Church celebrates human sexuality and science as a gift from God. Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a term used to describe a variety of different scientific, natural, and moral methods of fertility awareness. Married couples are called to make responsible decisions about parenthood while always remaining open to life and God’s plan.
Together, married couples choose a method of fertility awareness that works best for them. They learn to observe and chart the signs and symptoms of their combined fertility. They then use this information to continuously evaluate and discern God’s plan for their marriage and family.
The Fertility Awareness Methods used for NFP are true forms of family planning because they are extremely accurate in both assisting couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy. These methods are nearly three times more effective than other means in helping couples successfully achieve a pregnancy. All methods of NFP are between 98-99% effective in assisting couples in avoiding pregnancy if needed.
Unlike contraception, NFP respects and protects both the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) nature of the conjugal act. Couples can honor their wedding vows and express their free, total, faithful and fruitful love for one another in and through every conjugal act. These methods naturally allow for married couples to regularly and prayerfully discern whether God is calling them to have more children. In this way, married couples consciously and intentionally invite God and His blessings into their marriage and family. NFP also fosters the virtues needed for a strong, healthy marriage relationship, such as trust in God and one another, increased communication, and self-control. While the nationwide divorce rate is nearly 50%, those who use NFP have a less than 14% divorce rate (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33487745/). The gift of Natural Family Planning supports God's design for married love.
What are the different methods?
What is charting and what signs can women observe and track?
Need help choosing a method? Try this Method’s quiz to find the best method for you!