Below is a list of frequently asked questions about NFP

What is the effectiveness rate?

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a WorldHealth Organization study show that the Billings Ovulation Method and theSympto‑Thermal Method of Natural Family Planning are 98.6‑99% effective in postponing pregnancy when couples are taught by a Certified NFP teacher and the rules are correctly applied.  To view studies visit:

How many classes are there?

Three classes, approximately one month apart, are recommended.

Do you need regular visits to discuss charting?

As you are learning the method, regular chart reviews can help answer any questions you might have.  Once you understand the method, chart reviews are not necessary unless you have a question.  However, you are welcome to call or come in for a chart review at any time.

What is the fee for NFP Classes?

Most insurance companies now cover the cost of Natural Family Planning (NFP).  Contracts with individual insurance companies vary.  When there is not insurance coverage, a sliding fee scale based on income and family size is used.  All are welcome to learn NFP.  No one is ever turned away because of inability to pay.

Is there a yearly fee?

After learning the method, the only additional cost is for charts and stamps, which cost roughly $4 per year.

Isn’t it time consuming to keep daily track of the signs of fertility?

No.  Once you learn the method you will be able to recognize your signs of fertility through the normal activities of your day.  Charting each evening before bed takes less than 1 minute.

How long, on average, will couples using NFP have to abstain?

This can vary greatly depending on the length of a woman’s cycle.  Cycle length can vary from cycle to cycle.  On average, most couples abstain about seven days during the fertile phase.

Isn’t using NFP to postpone children the same as using contraception to postpone children?

No.  Contraception places a barrier between the love of a husband and wife.  Natural Family Planning does not.  NFP remains completely open to the possibility of new life, and thereby is in keeping with Church teaching regarding the sacrament of marriage.  NFP respects fertility as a gift, works with nature and the biology of the woman’s body, and does not damage or destroy fertility.

What does the Church teach about sexual acts outside of intercourse?

The Church teaches that every sexual act needs to remain open to both the love giving and life giving aspect of marriage.  Therefore, within the context of marriage, foreplay is acceptable so long as it leads to intercourse and remains open to life.

What if I have irregular cycles?

NFP can be used by women experiencing either regular (23-35 days) or irregular cycles.  Because a woman will be charting her cycle, she will recognize her fertile or infertile signs, even during an irregular cycle.  Women often tell us they thought they were irregular until they saw their cycle on a chart.

Is it hard to use NFP after the birth of a baby?

No, the Office of Marriage & Family offers a special class for new mothers.  The class helps new mothers to understand the special circumstances that apply to breast-feeding or non-breast-feeding mothers wishing to postpone pregnancy.  Once you understand the rules you can simply apply them.

In what ways can the Pill be harmful to my health?

Studies by Dr. Erik Odeblad of Sweden have shown that the cervix ages an additional year for each year of Birth Control Pill (BCP) use.  Because the cervix is where the cervical crypts are located and that is where the mucus is produced, BCP use may potentially affect future fertility.

One of the ways in which the BCP works is to prevent implantation.  Therefore, it can act as an abortifacient, ending a life which has already been conceived.

There is an increased risk of high blood pressure, blood clots, and cervical cancer by women who use the BCP.  A link has also been established between BCP use and breast cancer (Breast Cancer: Its Link to Abortion and the Birth Control Pill, Chris Kahlenborn, MD).

What if I am using the Pill for medical reasons, such as painful periods?

NFP-Only Ob/Gyns have told us that vitamins, such as B-complex (50-100mg) and D can be used to ease the pain that can accompany periods.  NFP-Only Physicians work to discover the underlying cause of the problem and provide treatment without the use of the BCP.

What is the divorce rate among couples that use NFP?

Less than 5% of marriages in which couples use NFP end in divorce.  This compares to about 50% in the general population.

Do I have to come to St. Cloud for NFP instruction?

No.  Certified teachers offer NFP instruction in more than 10 communities throughout Central Minnesota.  Referrals can be made to other areas of the state or nation.  Contact the Office of Marriage & Family at 320-252-4721 or 1-800-624-9019, or email NFP.