Making the Case for Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Before you read any further, if you’re looking for a convenient or easy form of family planning, this is not for you.

If you are looking for something natural that puts you in control when it comes to reproduction, this might be of interest to you.

So, what is natural family planning, or, NFP? Also known as fertility awareness, is a form of pregnancy planning that does not involve medicine or other forms of contraception. It can be used to avoid or achieve pregnancy. 

There are several methods that one can use for NFP. We choose to follow the Marquette Method which utilizes a home-based fertility monitor to track hormone changes throughout the menstrual cycle. 

In most conversations I have, I immediately hear “Well, you are definitely going to get pregnant using that method,” but believe it or not, the method is 99% effective for women in regular cycles and 98% effective for women who are breastfeeding. 

Why we use Marquette

We made the decision to utilize the Marquette Method for a number of reasons. While this was largely a moral decision for us, it was also important for me to feel like I was listening to the natural cycles of my body. Our bodies are so smart. They give us the signs we need for when we are at peak fertility and ready for a baby, and it also gives us signs when that is less likely to happen. I try to listen to my body as much as I am able, and this method allowed me to do so.

The second reason was that the long-term effects of oral contraception or the nightmare stories I have heard from IUD use was enough to scare me into natural options. Increased chances of ovarian, uterine, and breast cancer, lowered libido, weight gain, and increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack were plenty enough reasons to forego unnatural options. 

Marquette Method allowed me to understand my body’s natural cycles without worry of harmful side effects.

It’s hard, but rewarding 

Don’t get it twisted. Natural Family Planning is no joke. There are calendars, tracking, and a lot of self discipline involved depending on your stage of life. I took a class, consult with my instructor regularly, and have conversations with my spouse about intimacy often. It’s not the most glamorous. 

It’s not easy, but I do feel in control. It’s not always convenient, but I have peace of mind. Intimacy may not be rooted in spontaneity all the time, but it is intentional. 

How can I learn more?

There are many NFP resources locally as well as online. There are various methods for you to choose from that work for your needs. Most importantly, talk to your OBGYNs about all your options, risks, and what works best for your family.

Vitae Fertility: Marquette Method family planning resource

Billings Ovulation Method

FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science)

Acadiana OBGYN–a local OBGYN who teaches NFP methods and has the motto of “Respecting the Dignity of Women and building a new Culture of life”

Jessica Hauerwas
Jessica is a nonprofit leader who loves bopping around Lafayette for the best burgers or bands in town. She is the Executive Director of Downtown Lafayette Unlimited where she runs the day-to-day nonprofit. She and her husband Chris have three littles at home (Jane, Clark, and Louise) where there is lots of giggling and always a cup of coffee brewing. Jessica is passionate about community-building and empowering working mothers. Jessica also volunteers for various organizations, is a member of the Lafayette Re-Entry Coalition, a graduate of Leadership Lafayette, and a survivor of being a mother of three under 4.


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