Choosing an NFP Method


I am a 20 year old woman, engaged to be married in a little under two years, and would like to learn NFP sooner rather than later. I want to start charting soon not only so I have the ‘hang of it’ by the time I’m married in Spring 2009, but to become more familiar with my cycle.

So my question is–does it matter which method I choose? My cycle is regular, with no other medical problems to deal with. I’m wondering if some are objectively ‘easier’ to learn or use, or if it all varies based on personal experience/preference.

We’re choosing between CCLI’s sympto-thermal and Creighton–and the decision might honestly come down to which class schedule fits ours best. Any recommendations or things to think about from all you wise, married CAFers? :thumbsup:


I love STM. But I would love to learn Creighton and Billings too!

I like STM because it teaches you all the signs. STM encourages cross-checking but sometimes one sign stands out as more reliable. It also gives my husband an easier out when he talks about it to male friends. He can mention me taking my temp in the morning, but can leave out the possible “ick factor” of cervical/mucous checks. For many men that is simply TMI!

I think I like STM because it gives me more to go on when I teach my daughter too. It will be a nice thing (in about 12 years) to buy my daughter her own thermometer and go slowly from there. As I mentioned in another thread, my kids are going to know this stuff from day one, like your mother taught you. My 2 & 1/2-year old is currently learning that not everything that sticks out on Mommy’s body is “baby.” Those other things are breasts. They will feed baby!

We here on CAF are trying to overcome a “battle of the methods.” As an NFP promoter I am wanting to promote all methods equally including the value of just learning to chart while enjoying the blessing of not having to chart.

Bless you in your quest for knowledge. You are an inspiration to me!


if it all varies based on personal experience/preference.

Exactly! The best NFP system is the one the couple will use which is really preference/occ. need. Before our DS, I relied on the STM. After DS, I switched to Creighton (partially related to my chaotic sleep schedule plus the medical application). I have been pleased with the CrM and thanks to the CrM my low progesterone is being treated. :slight_smile: BTW, I was pleased with STM.

We here on CAF are trying to overcome a “battle of the methods.”

LOL! Yes, the battles occur. Each NFP system is needed IMO. I want to learn all the NFP methods too. My collection of NFP books is growing.

God bless,


I agree with the previous posters…

IMO, though I think it may be best to learn STM first because it does teach you all the signs to look for.
Creighton focuses mostly on cervical mucous signs, which can be perfect for those who have unreliable temperature signs or who prefer not to do internal check of the cervix.
But you don’t know if you have unreliable temperature signs unless you try STM first, know what I mean?

Good luck in your adventure into NFP! That’s awesome you’re so proactive to learn this ahead of time!


Are there different method effectiveness rates in the various forms of NFP?

That would be a factor in a decision, I would think. We use STM, and I believe even different rules (and shaving) yield different method effectiveness rates.


All three of the major methods are equally effective-- Billings, Creighton, and STM. There are also some others: Northwest Family Services (version of STM), Marquette (uses an electronic fertility monitor in addition to charting), etc.

Methods to avoid: any method that is based on the Standard Days Method (ie, Cycle Beads). This is not scientific NFP but rather the Rhythm Method.

I am a Creighton user. I love Creighton. The mucus observation is very easy, and I like that it is very specific in interpretation (not left to the individual to describe the mucus) As for temping, if there is ever a need, Creighton can have temping added to it-- such as to determine if ovulation is occuring.

I think it comes down to personal preference, and in some cases lifestyle (temping requires adequate sleep, same time every day, etc)

Some methods may be superior for specific circumstances-- such as peri-menopause, breastfeeding, infertility issues, etc.


I use STM and I think it’s a good starting point because it teaches how to observe all the signs. Once you learn that, then you might want to check out other methods to see what you like and what works best for you. You may think you’d prefer one method now, only to find with experience that another method fits your situation/lifestyle better. And it sounds like you still have plenty of time to get that all sorted out. :thumbsup:


I think STM is usually the ‘default’ method. You learn that, and then if you have trouble with it (like a weird schedule where you can’t take temps at the same time every day) or medical issues you move on to a more specialized method like Creighton. It was designed to be able to pinpoint problems so they could be diagnosed correctly. I have all kinds of issues, so I use Creighton now, after starting with STM.


I have to disagree with this statement.

I do not view STM as the “default” method, merely as the one most promoted at the diocesan level. I think that has more to do with marketing by Couple to Couple League than anything else.


This thread has been helpful, thanks!

I guess I’ve always liked the ‘security’ I see being offered by the STM temping, but thinking about my living arrangements while I’d be learning it, I’m not sure temping would even work–I’m a college student with less-than-typical sleep habits ;).

I know that Creighton uses only the mucus sign, but since it is tailored to each couple, couldn’t the other signs be taught/observed/used as well? It seems that once people are instructed in the method, though, they don’t have issues with understanding and just using the mucus sign. Does that make sense?

This is also one of those wedding-related things that gets very confused by the fact that we’re from one diocese, but getting married in another! The Archdiocese of St. Louis, where we’re from and where I spend probably a grand total of 2 months a year, is a big Creighton proponent, with the local Catholic hospital system offering FertilityCare services at *many *locations. But the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, where we’ll be getting married (we both go to ND) seems to only offer a few STM sessions, and there are no Creighton instructors from what I can tell in the area. It sounds like Creighton is a more involved teaching program–which I like–and it also sounded like they’d be willing to do the long-distance instruction thing, if necessary. Anyone do this? I’d really like to be guided through the learning process as much as possible, though I guess if I have any questions I could talk to my mother, who has used both! :thumbsup:


I guess from the perspective of an experienced Creighton user, I see no “security” that temping would add above and beyond what CrM already affords.

Maybe that’s looking back from the perspective of one who arleady knows and uses the method. But, with almost 2 years of charting before marriage, you would know your fertility signs inside out.

Yes, you can temp to determine if ovulation is occuring, but you should not attempt to use temp with any sort of STM “rules” in conjunction with CrM. CrM’s rules stand on their own. Also, CrM instruction does confine observation to external-- you should not do internal observations or check cervix position.

Correct. I have no need for temps or cervix checking at al.

I did not take instructions long-distance. Perhaps you could do some in-person when you are home on breaks? I do know that it is possible to do long-distance instruction. It’s really very easy to learn.

Although tempting, I would suggest sticking with a trained instructor.


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