Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the general title for the scientific, natural and moral methods of family planning that can help married couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies.
NFP methods are based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. No drugs, devices, or surgical procedures are used to avoid pregnancy.
Since the methods of NFP respect the love-giving (unitive) and life-giving (procreative) nature of the conjugal act, they support God’s design for married love!
NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING METHODS
Cervical Mucus Methods (CMM)
The methods that observe cervical mucus are commonly called the “Ovulation Method” or “OM.” In NFP education, a woman learns how to identify the normal, healthy, cervical mucus which indicates the days that sexual intercourse is most likely to result in pregnancy. A number of NFP providers teach a variety of approaches to the observation and charting of cervical mucus.
Billings Ovulation Method Association
Creighton Model FertilityCare™
Family of the Americas
Sympto-Thermal Methods (STM)
The methods that observe several signs of fertility and cross-check two or more of the signs to pinpoint ovulation are commonly called the “Sympto-Thermal Method” or “STM.” STM typically combines charting of the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) and cervical mucus with other optional indicators, such as changes in the cervix and secondary fertility signs. A number of NFP providers teach a variety of approaches to the observation and charting of these signs.
Diocese of Scranton
Northwest Family Services
Sympto-Hormonal Method (SHM)
The method that observes several signs of fertility and adds the use of an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) or fertility monitor is called the “Sympto-Hormonal Method” or “SHM.” Similar to the STM, this approach adds the self-detection of reproductive hormones in the urine with the assistance of an OPK or fertility monitor. Various diocesan NFP programs make use of the SHM as well as Marquette University’s Institute for NFP.
Become a Natural Family Planning Instructor
Descriptions of NFP methods are used with permission from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. For more information visit their site at