I am engaged and I went to a marriage preparation class last Saturday. They handed out a flyer about different NFP methods. I live in a large city, and there are teachers available for three different methods - The Billings Ovulation Method, The Couple to Couple League Sympto-Thermal Method, and the Creighton Model FertilityCare Method. For those of you who practice NFP, as I plan to do, which method do you use? What are the differences between the methods? Is one more effective than another? Is one easier?
I want to go to an NFP class with my fiance, and I need some advice about which class to go to. Thanks for your help!
I use the Sympto-Thermal method… so if I misrepresent the others, feel free to correct me!
Billings & Creighton - focuses on cervical mucous fertility sign only
Sympto-Thermal - looks at 3 signs - mucous, cervical position, and basal body temperature.
Personally, I like having the extra data that comes with the sympto-thermal method. It reassures me that I’m reading my fertility cycle correctly. Some people find it difficult to be consistent with taking your temperature every single day, but at this point it’s a basic habit in my daily routine and I don’t even notice it anymore. I’ve also heard that those who have fertility related medical issues (like PCOS) seem to do well with the Creighton Model.
Best of luck choosing your method… and don’t fret, if you find that the one you choose isn’t working out well for you (you get confused by the signs, or are bothered by the difficulty of charting something) then you can always learn another method!
My wife and I use the Marquette method. It costs more than the other methods (about 15 bucks per month), and it uses a fertility monitor. We’ve been using it for a couple of years and it’s worked 100% for us… to have children and to space them. We like it because it measures directly the hormones the other methods are trying to detect through secondary physical signs.
Sympto-thermal (taught by the Couple to Couple League or Taking Charge of Your Fertility) - uses basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and feel of the cervix (optional). I personally love watching for and charting the temperature sign, though some people feel that it’s more complicated.
Billings Ovulation Method - uses cervical secretions only. Users are taught four basic rules, probably one of the simplest symptom-based methods.
Creighton Model FertilityCare - uses cervical secretions only. Developed as a “standardization” of the Billings method, teaches women specific definitions and categories of mucus. Creighton trains medical consultants to diagnose fertility problems based on Creighton charts and is often thought to be one of the more “medical” methods.
Marquette - uses some combination of BBT, cervical secretions, and an electronic fertility monitor called Clearblue Fertility Monitor. The monitor is the somewhat expensive, but it’s a pretty cool gadget. It can also be helpful if you are later trying to become pregnant.
Standard Days Method - a modern calendar-based method of family planning for use only by women with reguler cycles between 26-32 days. Users rely on CycleBeads to track their cycles, instead of observing symptoms and charting. Easy, simple, 95% effective, but always requires 12 days of abstinence.
(There’s also the TwoDay Method, which isn’t really taught in the US, and LAM, which can only be used by postpartum women). I just wrote my Masters thesis on NFP and one of the things that I’ve found is that many NFP promoters feel very strongly about their own “brand” of NFP and can sometimes be disparaging of other methods. Some people like temps, others like mucus only. Some people think Marquette is too expensive, others think the cost is worth it. Take opinions for what they’re worth. All the methods can be highly effective if used correctly. Read up on the different method, take an intro class (I know Creighton and Billings have them) and/or meet with a couple of the providers and go with your gut.