My cycle is irregular. Will NFP still work?


#1

Went to B Dalton to buy some books by Christopher West such as Theology of the Body for Beginners or Good news about sex and marriage. Geuss what!! No books by him. Many, many, many books by Joyce Meyers and other protestant authors. Try to find a Catholic book in that store was near impossible. Lots of new age stuff too. Surprise anyone. I know I need to go online to buy these books, or B Dalton can order them for me. Seems like everyone forgets there are Catholics in the world. No books on NFP either(didn’t think there would be).

The real reason I am writing this post is for this question.
My periods have ALWAYS been irregular. They can go anywhere from 21-40 days in between cycles. (My DH pointed this out to me in another discussion) Can NFP still be effective? If so, how?
I never know when I am going to start my period.

My next question is the valid reason. I understand NFP can be abused. That one must be open to children unless they have a valid reason. Well…I don’t want more than 3 kids as I don’t think I could handle it. Also, I have to work full time to provide health insurance for my family as my dh is self employed. I feel the guilt working now and I only have one child. How I pray I could stay home with her or at least cut down to 2 or 3 days a week. Are these reasons valid enough to use NFP? How sinful is it if one abuses NFP and is never open to children because they feel like they are “done” their family?

I am getting excited about using NFP. If God used my dh to get me off that bc pill, then I know God will work through me to get him to use NFP.


#2

Absolutely it will work. The sympto-thermal method goes by waking temperature and physical signs.


#3

irregular cycles and all… our families no longer makes fun of NFP…(one family member was running bets on how long before we were pregnant) one full year of marriage (in a few days) and no babies yet.


#4

Yes, if you commit yourself to learning & practicing, natural family planning is effective for postponing or acheiving pregnancy even with an irregular cycle(barring any other difficulties).

Look into the Creighton Model: www.creightonmodel.com. I wish I had right from the start! Feel free to PM me for more details.

As to the reasons to postpone children…you and your husband are the only people who can decide that. My feedback to your post is to say, “Whoa, whoa–concentrate on one child at a time!” Being open to the grace & blessings that come with one child may teach you more about your talents as parents.

If you haven’t read Humanae Vitae, here’s a link, followed by the section you refer to:
vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

Responsible Parenthood

*10. Married love, therefore, requires of husband and wife the full awareness of their obligations in the matter of responsible parenthood, which today, rightly enough, is much insisted upon, but which at the same time should be rightly understood. Thus, we do well to consider responsible parenthood in the light of its varied legitimate and interrelated aspects. *

With regard to the biological processes, responsible parenthood means an awareness of, and respect for, their proper functions. In the procreative faculty the human mind discerns biological laws that apply to the human person. (9)

*With regard to man’s innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man’s reason and will must exert control over them. *

*With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time. *

*Responsible parenthood, as we use the term here, has one further essential aspect of paramount importance. It concerns the objective moral order which was established by God, and of which a right conscience is the true interpreter. In a word, the exercise of responsible parenthood requires that husband and wife, keeping a right order of priorities, recognize their own duties toward God, themselves, their families and human society. *

From this it follows that they are not free to act as they choose in the service of transmitting life, as if it were wholly up to them to decide what is the right course to follow. On the contrary, they are bound to ensure that what they do corresponds to the will of God the Creator. The very nature of marriage and its use makes His will clear, while the constant teaching of the Church spells it out. (10)


#5

[quote=rayne89]Absolutely it will work. The sympto-thermal method goes by waking temperature and physical signs.
[/quote]

A more important question is how well will it work. The Mayo Clinic has some info that might interest you.
The smyptothermal method has an effective rate of 97-98% when used perfectly. The rate of effectiveness in “typical” use is a bit lower at 80-87%.

A couple of points in the reality check area (applies to all NFP):
Requires consistent and accurate record keeping (which is why “typical” is going to be a better expectation than “perfect” use)

Something you specifically want to consider:
Works best for women with predictable menstrual cycles
mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=WO00035

I’m not saying don’t use NFP but there are some real issues you need to weigh in choosing it. Sadly I’ve seen too many NFPers be overly optimistic on its effectiveness which may lead to people making decisions with erroneous facts.

If you choose NFP which does have a lot to offer, choose it knowing the facts.


#6

[quote=SemperJase]A more important question is how well will it work. The Mayo Clinic has some info that might interest you.
The smyptothermal method has an effective rate of 97-98% when used perfectly. **The rate of effectiveness in “typical” use is a bit lower at 80-87%. **

A couple of points in the reality check area (applies to all NFP):
Requires consistent and accurate record keeping (which is why “typical” is going to be a better expectation than “perfect” use)

Something you specifically want to consider:
Works best for women with predictable menstrual cycles
mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=WO00035

I’m not saying don’t use NFP but there are some real issues you need to weigh in choosing it. Sadly I’ve seen too many NFPers be overly optimistic on its effectiveness which may lead to people making decisions with erroneous facts.

If you choose NFP which does have a lot to offer, choose it knowing the facts.
[/quote]

What many studies do not take into account is that “typical” couples are always free to abandon their goal of postponement at any time. A couple who chooses not to abstain on a day that they know they could be fertile is part of the beauty of NFP. This couple will say that they were “avoiding pregnancy” but “took a chance” and therefore NFP “failed.” No, they united in love, renewed their sacramental vows, and another soul was effectively brought forth from God.


#7

Check out the Creighton method…


#8

[quote=rayne89]Absolutely it will work. The sympto-thermal method goes by waking temperature and physical signs.
[/quote]

This will work, I was so irregular and many other Gyn problems yet it did work.


#9

I am so irregular I cannot even begin to tell you. NFP is the ONLY thing that will truly work for you!

I use sympto-Thermal NFP precisely because of the symptoms you list. www.ccli.org The other methods mentioned will work too I’m sure but I am not familiar with using them. As I am in your shoes I thought I would tell you how WONDERFUL sympto-thermal method has been for my overall health.

PM me. I will list awful controversies here that will get some people who like the pill for “medical reasons” riled up. Oh well I don’t mind if I rile a few people, sometimes.

  1. The Pill makes you MORE irregular since the “regulation” is false.
  2. You ARE regular. (For you) You just aren’t monthly.
  3. Your husband will like you so much better now that you are off the pill!

Sympto-thermal will tell you the day your period will start because your temperature will usually drop that morning. Your cycles now that seem “normal” still might not be. I’ve been sick lately and my non-NFP doc says my cycles are fine because they are 30 days long. Nope, still sick ovulation cycle is 18 days long and luteal phase is only 7. After you take the class you will know that those numbers should be more like 12 and 12.

Ah the things your DH will learn too. Mine was so proud to have understood “full thermal shift” sooner than I did! He loves NFP now. He can’t imagine using contraception since NFP is so great.


#10

[quote=SemperJase]A more important question is how well will it work. The Mayo Clinic has some info that might interest you.
The smyptothermal method has an effective rate of 97-98% when used perfectly. The rate of effectiveness in “typical” use is a bit lower at 80-87%.

A couple of points in the reality check area (applies to all NFP):
Requires consistent and accurate record keeping (which is why “typical” is going to be a better expectation than “perfect” use)

Something you specifically want to consider:
Works best for women with predictable menstrual cycles
mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=WO00035

I’m not saying don’t use NFP but there are some real issues you need to weigh in choosing it. Sadly I’ve seen too many NFPers be overly optimistic on its effectiveness which may lead to people making decisions with erroneous facts.

If you choose NFP which does have a lot to offer, choose it knowing the facts.
[/quote]

Those #'s of 98% and 80-87% are the SAME as using the “The Pill.” If you take the pill at a different time each day it can affect the results. Even if it only varies by an hour or two.

Although I didn’t read the link I will say The Mayo Clinic is wrong if it states “works best for women with predictable cycles.” 100% wrong! Easier maybe, but definitely not “best.”

“Consistent and accurate record keeping” is also misleading. In the beginning when a couple is learning it is important. After a few years it is so second nature it’s like blinking. I can wake up in the morning now and know my temperature has shifted before I even touch my thermometer. My husband knows exactly where we are in my cycle without ever having to look at my chart. He just asks himself, “Am I sleeping next to an oven or a freezer?”


#11

The Creighton Model is a great way to find out why your cycles are irregular.

Check it out

Pope Paul VI Institute

We’ve found Dr. Hilgers very helpful.


#12

i had very irregular periods while Breastfeeding and it worked great


#13

[quote=Trelow]The Creighton Model is a great way to find out why your cycles are irregular.
[/quote]

I agree. I’ve been irregular (my cycles last 34-52 days) since I had my baby 20 months ago. I started charting in August and have switched to an NFP friendly doctor so now hopefully I’ll find out why. My old OB just wanted to put me on the pill to “regulate” my cycles. That wouldn’t have solved my problem of why my cycles were irregular.


#14

I too have irregular cycles. (anywhere from 40 to 65 days, usually on the higher end) NFP works perfectly for us. I have no problem knowing when I am fertile. I will tell you, the first few cycles we had to abstain quite a bit (during phase 1 and phase 2) because we couldn’t risk pregnancy due to health issue, but after about 2 cycles we had everything figured out. So there were only a few days of abstinence required per cycle . On the other side of the story, I was terrified we would never get pregnant because I only had 5 to 6 chances a year due to my extra long cycles. However, when you know exactly when you are fertile, it makes it a lot easier. :slight_smile: We are now blessed with a beautiful 4 month only son.

Also, NFP also makes general suggestions about nutritional problems or other issues that may cause the irregular cycles. When we took the class we were given many other resources that went into great detail about possibly “fixing” your cycle. If that is something that interests you.


#15

A tip you will rarely hear is to compare the kinds of NFP out there. Sympto-thermal, Billings, Creighton all vary slightly and your particular cycle may make one of them work best for you.

My wife has found that as long as she stays off cold/allergy meds, the Billing mucus method is bullet-proof. Her pattern of mucus change is so consistent that we don’t even bother with charts anymore.

But then, we wouldn’t be devastated if we had a “failure” either. If we had a life-threatening condition to worry about, we’d be more strict to the rules. That’s likely the reduced “effectiveness” the Mayo guys are talking about!


#16

[quote=Jocelyn] Went to B Dalton to buy some books by Christopher West such as Theology of the Body for Beginners or Good news about sex and marriage. Geuss what!! No books by him. Many, many, many books by Joyce Meyers and other protestant authors. Try to find a Catholic book in that store was near impossible. Lots of new age stuff too. Surprise anyone. I know I need to go online to buy these books, or B Dalton can order them for me. Seems like everyone forgets there are Catholics in the world. No books on NFP either(didn’t think there would be).
[/quote]

You can find these books on Amazon.com and at Catholic bookstores or from Catholic online bookstores. Not surprising you didn’t find anything. Disappointing though.

[quote=Jocelyn] The real reason I am writing this post is for this question. My periods have ALWAYS been irregular. They can go anywhere from 21-40 days in between cycles. (My DH pointed this out to me in another discussion) Can NFP still be effective? If so, how? I never know when I am going to start my period.
[/quote]

You absolutey can use NFP. There are three methods that use the various biomarkers. SymptoThermal, www.ccli.org & Creighton Model www.creightonmodel.com are the two I know about. STM uses temp, cervix position, and cervical mucus. The temp will shift at ovulation and it will drop the day before or day of your period. Creighton uses mucus only, and that’s the one I use.

Your cycle is basically within normal variation, although 21 days is a bit short. Typically the luteal phase, time from ovulation to menstruation, is the same from month to month, it is the time from the start of the period to ovulation that can vary. Actually, with these methods you may discover you aren’t ovulating, have a short luteal phase, have hormonal problems, etc, they are great in that regard.

The methods don’t rely on any past data or averages, so irregularity is not an issue. Each day you know whether you are fertile or not in that cycle and on that day. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how short, long, or consistent your cycle is from month to month.

[quote=Jocelyn] My next question is the valid reason. I understand NFP can be abused. That one must be open to children unless they have a valid reason. Well…I don’t want more than 3 kids as I don’t think I could handle it. Also, I have to work full time to provide health insurance for my family as my dh is self employed. I feel the guilt working now and I only have one child. How I pray I could stay home with her or at least cut down to 2 or 3 days a week. Are these reasons valid enough to use NFP? How sinful is it if one abuses NFP and is never open to children because they feel like they are “done” their family?
[/quote]

Certainly they are valid reasons, for you and your family. God calls us to be open to life, to discern his will prayerfully and with our spouse. We respond as best we can and if we feel that at that time we have all we can handle, then NFP is not sinful. You should always remain open to deciding from month to month if you are open or not.

[quote=Jocelyn] I am getting excited about using NFP. If God used my dh to get me off that bc pill, then I know God will work through me to get him to use NFP.
[/quote]

Yes, God is gracious to us even when we are oblivious to it. I recommend the book The Art of Natural Family Planning for more info-- it’s from ccli.org so it’s Sympto Thermal but it’s got good info. I use Creighton and love that, but I’m versed in both.


#17

[quote=SemperJase]A more important question is how well will it work. The Mayo Clinic has some info that might interest you.
The smyptothermal method has an effective rate of 97-98% when used perfectly. The rate of effectiveness in “typical” use is a bit lower at 80-87%.

A couple of points in the reality check area (applies to all NFP):
Requires consistent and accurate record keeping (which is why “typical” is going to be a better expectation than “perfect” use)

Something you specifically want to consider:
Works best for women with predictable menstrual cycles
mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?id=WO00035

I’m not saying don’t use NFP but there are some real issues you need to weigh in choosing it. Sadly I’ve seen too many NFPers be overly optimistic on its effectiveness which may lead to people making decisions with erroneous facts.

If you choose NFP which does have a lot to offer, choose it knowing the facts.
[/quote]

Respectfully, the Mayo clinic is NOT the expert on NFP. And, they do not cite their references on these supposed effectiveness numbers. So, you don’t even know where they got them. They are not accurate based on studies I’ve seen.

You will find studies that document their methodology and results that have different numbers. ccli.org and creightonmodel.com both have links to studies conducted on the methods.


#18

I second this! Our Lord promises never to give us more than we can handle, but this does not mean He will give you the grace to handle three children when you only have one so far! :wink: Take it one pregnancy at a time, just like we have to take our life one day at a time. Anxiety about the future is counter-productive.

HA! I should take my own advice more! :o


#19

[quote=Trelow]The Creighton Model is a great way to find out why your cycles are irregular.

Check it out

Pope Paul VI Institute

We’ve found Dr. Hilgers very helpful.
[/quote]

I just want to reiterate this point, unlike artificial contraception, NFP helps you understand the health of your body. It will help you find out why you are they way you are, and help diagnose potential problems long before you feel other symptoms. So don’t view it as contraception, view it as an investment in your health!

I wouldn’t just get a book though, I would talk to a certified NFP professional in your area. (It costs money, but if you view it as an investment in your health, can easily be justified.)

My wife and I use the creighton model as well. My father had a bet we would be pregnant at the end of our honeymoon. It will be half a year during the holidays and it will be interesting to see what the families say. :slight_smile:


#20

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