Discouraged by atypical NFP cycles


I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting really discouraged and frustrated with NFP. My cycles weren’t great before we got married, and now they’re just impossible. I am, at least, somewhat regular with a roughly 28 day period, but ovulation has been anywhere from day 11 to day 15 in just 7 cycles. My mucus always appears right after if not before the end of my period.
The worst is the temp shift. I haven’t gotten a real temp shift for the past three cycles. I’ll get a few high temps during phase 2, and a few low temps during phase 3, sometimes never reaching HTL even if I shave the high temps in phase 2.
I’d rather die than even dream of contracepting, but I feel like it would actually be more selfish to throw NFP out the window because we really, really feel that we have discerned properly that God would have us wait for kids. Then I have this fear that since my temps are so wacky I’m probably infertile anyway, which in a way makes me want to take chances because (A) we probably can’t/won’t get pregnant anyway and (B) I’d love to prove myself wrong so I don’t continue feeling like my body is inferior or something.


Have you called your NFP instructor?

How are you taking your temperatures?.. orally or vaginally? same exact time every single day?
Are you changing anything in your lifestyle? Exercise? Eating habits (dieting?)? Medications? Sleep patterns?

All of these are MAJOR factors when it comes to reading your cycle.

Actually you’re very lucky to have such a consistant 28 day cycle! That’s RARE!
My cycles are NEVER the same length… ranging from 27 to 56 days on a regular basis…

Sounds like you may need some one on one help from an instructor… to make sure you’re doing everything correctly… and to rule out any fertility issues you may have…

Good luck… keep it up…


I am so sorry to hear you’re having such a frustrating time with this! The first thing I would do is try a different thermometer and try to determine if there are any factors other than your cycle influencing your temp. Are you going to bed at different times? Getting up to use the bathroom frequently? Having nightmares/tossing and turning? I would just really scrutinize every little thing that could be affecting the temps. Are you sure you’re taking them correctly and placing the thermometer under your tongue as far back and to the side that it can go (on the inside of your teeth)? (If you’re taking them orally, that is).

You could check the thermometer for accuracy by taking a temp and then taking it again a minute later. If there’s a big change, you know something’s not right with the instrument.

I just read yesterday in the book “Your Labor of Love” (a book for expectant moms) that Pope Pius XII wrote in his Letter to Midwives that there are only 4 general permissable reasons to avoid pregnancy with NFP. They are: medical, economic, eugenic (great probability of having a severely disabled child), and social order (disruption of life from war, natural disasters, etc.). I don’t know what your reasons for postponing childbirth are, but I thought this was interesting and maybe you’ll find it interesting and thought provoking too.


Our instructor wasn’t much help, and I definitely felt like I knew more than she did anyway. She said a few things that directly contradicted the book, such as sleeping with a child will not affect your temps and other inconsistencies that you ladies just mentioned. She acted like your temp was this really strong symptom that wasn’t easily disturbed, which really isn’t the case.

I go to bed nearly the same time every night around 11, take my temp at 6:30 pretty much on the money, and actually get up around 7:30. I do have trouble sleeping through the night, but that isn’t something that could be easily corrected. I’ve also noticed that if I take my temp twice in the morning, it doesn’t follow the .1 rise every half hour rule. Maybe I should try the different thermometer to see if it could be the device.

I guess I could also try taking it earlier, because I had my best couple cycles when I was taking my temp at 5:20, but I was also going to bed at 10 and getting up at 6.


I agree with the suggestion of trying a new thermometer… if you’re using a digital one they can eventually fail or the batteries may die…

I also suggest trying to temp vaginally…
It IS possible to get “cold spots” in your mouth (from sleeping with your mouth open, etc), and I’ve personally noticed much more consistancy with vaginal temping. Yes, it can be a bit disturbing, at first, but once it becomes a routine (and you remember to never put that thing in your mouth again! LOL!), it’s no big deal…

Your instructor may have just been speaking from her own personal experience (of sleeping with kids and having a consistant temperature), but as we ALL know, EVERYONE is different… so definitely look into getting more “professional” advice from an instructor (maybe a different one?) or looking to your reference book for more details…



I have one word for you that will solve all of this…


It’s heaven sent. I love it, I live by it, and I tell everyone about it. And no, I have no personal stake in this product or company, I have just been a faithful user or this great device for 8 years. After dealing with all the inconsistancies you have talked about and more, I discovered this wonderful device and have never loked back. Every woman should have one.




I think you should try the vitamin supplement optivite. I have found that it really helps with clearing up my signs. Plus, it helps lengthen phase three :thumbsup: :wink: . And, it smooths out those pms symptoms. It’s kind of pricey, but cheaper than the obstetrician.

Although, I think it would be nice to not have to use NFP. I’d rather just have a baby. But, even then, Optivite is suppose to help with building up the uterine wall, so it would help with early pregnancies and implantation. :slight_smile:


Caveat: I am not starting a NFP method debate.

Firstly, I’m a fan of vitamins and more natural treatments (I’m unfamiliar with optivite).

Have you read Marilyn Shannon’s Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition(I haven’t)? I have heard that it’s very helpful.

Also, we used the Creighton Model, so I can’t relate to the BBT experiences, but I know that I still knew what was going on.

Also, the way Creighton is paired with NaPro Technology, of PMScauses, and does not just treat the symptoms.


Stress can do interesting things to your cycle, and perhaps this will abate after you settle in to marriage a little more.

BUT-- I suggest you look in to Creighton since STM seems to be causing you grief. Some methods suit some women better than others.

I love Creighton.


Actually, Optivite is recommended in Fertility Cycles and Nutrition. I second the recommendation. It is expensive, but not more than any other non-store brand vitamine. Ie, compared to Juice Plus something like that, it is about the same. I ordered in bulk and at least saved a little that way.

Good luck,


This is exactly how I’m feeling…I started a new job in July, and my cycles have been completely unintelligible since then. I just have to say, I wholeheartedly echo your feelings on the points A. and B. that you mentioned…I’m going to check out that book by Marilyn Shannon.


An old Grandma here :smiley: Use the Billings Ovulation Method
billings-centre.ab.ca/ :thumbsup: That way through ovservation you will feel much better and certain about yourself.


Another vote here for you switching to a different method that suits you better.


Have you contacted CCL directly with your charts and questions. They might be able to help you more than a local teacher.

Mailing Address:
The Couple to Couple League International, Inc.
P.O. Box 111184 Cincinnati, OH

Phone Numbers:
(513) 471-2000 | (800) 745-8252

They might also know why your mucous is only showing up near your period. Certainly stress can affect you a great deal. I love using the cross checks of the STM but illness can throw off temps and even mucous. Do you have access to an NFP only dr? omsoul.com They could help you as well, to determine if there is a problem.

God bless,



I am sure you are well aware, but I wanted to mention the use of antihistimines and the drying up of mucus. And vitamin c will make the mucus a better quality, but that’s probably more helpful when trying to achieve pregnancy.

And re: stress, I know when I’m stressed I seemed not to ovulate, based on temps.

I can relate to your frustrations, except I had irregular mucus patterns as opposed to temp patterns.


AMEN! We are so much happier with this method- easier to use. AND when you do have a baby, you may as well forget STM andway, becuase your sleep will not be undisturbed ever again! Even when they all sleep through the night there are other worries…

My MD suggested Optivite also, but I couldn’t tolerate it. I have found that flaxseed oil is a great help with all my “woman problems” and I give it to my daughters, too.


I had all kinds of irregularities and none of the traditional natural family planning methods worked for me after some time - they were also especially hard to manage since I have to do some travelling for work in different time-zones. But because of this forum I learned about the ClearPlanEasy Fertility Monitor and I it’s great! I’m now pregnant with our fourth planned child and I highly recommend a monitor if you can afford it. Someone else mentioned BabyComp. I am thrilled to see that technology is catching up to NFP and we now have these options open to us. Kudos to the women who have success without the monitors but for those of us who need it, I thank God they now exist!


I took my charting issues to my GYN, who is very familiar with NFP. Ask with your local NFP organization about doctors or try this website:
One More Soul
It turns out that my difficulties charting came from a medical condition. Now that we are woeking on fixing that, my charting is becoming more predictable.


I disagree with you on STM and after babies. Not all women have this trouble, I don’t. Even with disturbed sleep I have a clear temperature pattern. Certainly investigate a new method if you’re having issues but I would try to figure out the problem without learning a whole new method. Again, contact CCL or your Dr (if they are familiar with NFP).

I do agree with using Optivite and flax seed oil or freshly ground flax seeds (love that in my morning oatmeal!). They both can help your cycles. And I’ll also 3rd or 4th? the recommendation for Fertility Cycles and Nutrition! Great book!



Have you visited the website “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”, based on the book of the same name by Toni Wechsler? You’ll find all sorts of resources available. The message boards can be read by guests, so perhaps answers to your questions are already in their FAQs.

I know there’s discussion of various supplements (for example, Robitussin can help improve the quality of your fertile mucous), as well as temping, etc. There’s a big area dealing with infertility including natural ways to address it.

Good luck!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.