NFP first cycle PP


my wife finally received her first period after we had our son. THat was a long wait. Now we are in our first cylce post partum.

We believe she ovulated or had an anovulatory cycle previous to her period because she had about 5 days of very fertile mucas and then a couple days of drying up and then 2 days later started spotting. I remember reading in the book that the luteal phase can be extremely short after the first ovulation post partum.

My question is now that we are experiencing our first cycle pp can we assume this first cycle will be normal, or do the first cycles vary with respect to ones normal cycle patterns? Thanks.

Patiently waiting for Phase III :wink:


Her first few cycles may have a short luteal phase. Make sure she has a good vitamin B6 level. That will extent luteal phases. If she had a lot of morning sickness during her first trimester she probably could use a good dose of B6 during phases II and III.

Blessings to you and your wife. You have been in my prayers while you have waited for this time. Your faithfulness during a difficult time has been an honor to witness.:angel1:


My first cycle pp was aprox two weeks longer than a usual cycle. My lueteal phase was also very short. I wish I had known about B6!

Have your wife give it a try and let us know how it does!


When I resumed menstration after my baby, my cycles were almost immediately the same length, but the luteal phases were shorter for some time. In other words, I’d spend most of the cycle waiting to ovulate. I know that becoming pregnant again is something you wish to avoid, so please be patient. You should still observe the conservative rules for when so cease relations, and wait to be sure of ovulation before resuming. For me, that meant instead of the usual 7-10 day break it was more like 14+ days off in a 26 day cycle. We just had to enjoy the days we had.


OKay, thank you for the advice. I understand that Phase II can be longer and Phase III can be shorter (luteal phase) but what about Phase I. My wife and I are currently in day 5 of our first cycle. If we use the doering rule we still have today and day 6 for relations before the long wait.

But my question is can Phase I be shorter? I mean is it possible for her to ovulate early. If we go off of all our previous cycles which TOANF suggests, then we can still observe these rules and be safe today and tomorrow for phase I.

Am I right in thinking this?

I must be honest, this is becoming very difficult and is just frustrating. Making me think that this is NOT the way God wants sex to be. I know in my mind that it is, but in my heart it just seems so calcuated, so planned. I mean we have to study books and charts just to express our love to eachother without pregnancy? I know I’m whining but cut me some slack.

Thanks for your advice.


We are going through this exact issue right now too. Try to keep in mind that you’ve made it this far and you can keep going in this small homestretch.

My fertility care practitioner told us that if we are trying to avoid, we really need to wait until post-peak phase because yes, your wife can ovulate early. I have PCOS and may or may not ovulate–its not looking like it, so we’re still waiting for something that might not even happen. It’s so frustrating but keep offering it up for your marriage. (It seems that we practice different methods of NFP however, so go with what you think is best.) For what it’s worth, my fertility practioner says NOT to go on past cycles because they have the potential to be vastly different. Again, this only matters if you truly have to avoid–she made a point of this for me since she knows my husband and I must do so.


In my own experience phase 1 wasn’t shorter. Hormones are wacky stuff and one menstral cycle doesn’t mean she’s back to her old hormonal situation. But you are probably safe using the Doering rule. Just have her keep an eye on her fluids for any signs of early fertility. Most moms I know had either regular or extra long cycles once menstration started up again, and those who track these things generally said they had short luteal phases. I don’t know anyone who had really short cycles, which is what would happen if one were having short phases 1 and 3. I know that’s all anecdotal, but it’s what I have to offer. No matter how you look at it, the egg is only present and viable for about 24 hours, and sperm can only hide out in an accomodating cervix for about 4 days tops. So even though there may be confusingly fertile looking mucus for an unusually long time, it doesn’t really mean you have more days to get pregnant. It just means it’s harder to figure out which 5 days or so are really it.

The PP body–particularly one that is breastfeeding–has a hard time building up enough of the hormones necessary to pop an egg. Instead of a quickly progressing from the first wave of those hormones (which make the more fertile mucus come in) to the threshhold level that triggers ovulation, you get a slow buildup.

I know it can seem very frustrating, but perhaps the reason why it doesn’t feel like God’s plan is because there are other factors here (not the NFP) that really aren’t God’s plan. For instance, I remember you posting eariler that your wife had to return to work and is pumping milk. Which is understandable and excellent and not a sin, but it’s not God’s plan for the natural control of fertility either. I read an interesting book called Parenting for Primates that compared the childrearing in many primate species, and in every case except human the mothers are in physical contact with their babies all day and night, with short frequent nursings that go on until what would be comparable to ages 3-6 in humans. Also, the diets of the other species tend to be less artifical and body fat percentages lower. Not that I think we should all give up our jobs and eat organic fruit all day while nursing, but it’s interesting to see that in species with menses like our own, babies are spaced by these factors. If your wife lived in a tribal culture in which she worked physically most of the day with her baby tied to her breast and ate what she grew or you hunted then slept with her baby at her breast all night, odds are good that you would have babies at a rate something like one every 3 years, simply because her fertility would stay low.

Also, while she is nursing, she may be less interested in sex. That’s one common effect of the hormone oxytocin, which is produced when breastfeeding. We live in a culture that puts a high value on sex, and shoves it in our faces a lot. It may be that God’s plan is for you and your wife to be content with less frequent sex for now. One thing that tends to happen in other primate species is that females in the phase of life where they have a baby simply don’t go about inviting males to have sex with them. And even in mated species, that seems to be acceptable to the males. Maybe they can handle it easier because monkeys don’t have sexy beer ads on every 5 minutes when they watch a football game. But for a man in our culture, the invitation to look at women sexually is constant. And the universal horror expressed in the media at the thought of a week or two without sex for anyone over 18 (married or not) makes us think that we must be disfunctional if a month of marriage goes by and we only have sex for a few days in a short phase 3.

I see that you are trying very hard to do God’s will, but that already the devil is tempting you to see it all inside out. It’s not that God or the Church is trying to ruin sex for you. It’s the world that wants you thinking about it all the time, even at the wrong times. It’s the world that forces a non-ideal separation of the infant from the breast (which is a major key to child spacing without tons of abstinance). Remember that you were eager for your wife to resume cycling so that you could more reliably apply NFP. Not that I blame you for that, nor do I think you really had a choice about her going back to work, but it’s a compromise. If she can’t stay with the baby and delay fertility that way, then we’ll have to go to plan B: get back on a predictable cycle and use that to abstain periodically. God does the best he can with plan B, but it’s really not His fault that we aren’t on plan A (where temptation is low and oxytocin is high). And as far as I can see it’s not your fault either. I’m not trying to say that. But your frustration comes from the world, not the beautiful knowledge we have of God’s amazing creation of our sexuality and the female cycles of fertility.


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