NFP is “healthy”. What does that mean? NFP is health-enhancing. Through NFP charting, a woman becomes aware of her normal fertility-menstrual cycle. Some kinds of cycle irregularities can alert her to possible underlying problems, and she can seek early health-care assistance.
Can NFP work with irregular cycles? Yes. Modern NFP assumes that every woman is irregular at least some of the time. In general, if her fertile time comes earlier or later than usual, she knows about it because the start of her cervical mucus comes earlier or later.
Can I use NFP immediately after I’ve had a baby? Yes. The fully breastfed infant is one that is fed on demand 24-hours a day. The constant action of sucking suppresses ovulation. By carefully watching for and charting any changes in mucus patterns which could indicate the return of fertility and by charting her mucus pattern, a woman will be able to notice a change signaling the onset of ovulation. A woman who is totally breastfeeding will experience either a basic infertile pattern of dryness or a basic infertile pattern of unchanging mucus—a continuous mucus discharge that does not change from day to day. For some women, this period will last only a few weeks, while others will experience this pattern for an extended time of breastfeeding, even for one to two years.
How does NFP work during pre-menopause? Somewhere between the age of 35-50 woman can expect to see a change in her cycles and they may vary in length from one cycle to the next. However, the knowledge gained from this method will help a woman to understand that these changes are normal for the pre-menstrual phase. To determine her current state of fertility, a mature woman should record as much information as possible on her charts, including “hot flashes”. The pre-menopausal woman may experience an ovulatory cycle; however, careful charting and good observations are necessary to identify the less frequent fertile phases. These practices combine to make NFP a useful and reassuring element of the maturing couple’s sexuality.
How can NFP help a couple struggling with infertility? There are several reproductive technologies compatible with Catholic teaching. NFP can assist couples in identifying their most fertile days and intercourse should be timed for those days for at least six months before proceeding to medical interventions. When proceeding with infertility treatment, a good rule of thumb is that procedures which assist marital intercourse in reaching its procreative potential are morally acceptable. Procedures which add a “third party” into the act of conception, or which substitute a laboratory procedure for intercourse, are not acceptable.