NFP technical help please

As some of you might remember from an earlier thread, I’ve been trying to pick up the basics of Natural Family Planning quickly since my fiance and I had a short engagement and sort of forgot to learn it earlier in the wedding planning process.

The wedding is coming up fast and I’m still baffled – not by the concepts, which are pretty straight forward – but by the fact that my body refuses to behave according to theory :stuck_out_tongue:

I tried the temperature-taking route initially, but found it impossible to keep up with as sticking a thermometer in my mouth first thing every morning just made me hate waking up. (Thermometers are for sick people!)

From there I decided to try the Marquette Method, since hormone testing seemed like a pretty accurate way to go, especially since I have a history of irregular cycles. So I got a digital ovulation test kit at the drugstore. First month, I went from low fertility to high fertility and stayed at high fertility for a week and never reached peak before I ran out of test strips. This month I had low fertility on the first day, and then peak fertility this morning – so much for 2-4 days advance notice!

Any ideas? So far I feel like the data I have is absolutely useless for being able to avoid sex at the appropriate times. Also, my best calendar-based guess is that the “appropriate time” next month is going to be right in the middle of our honeymoon, which makes me want to pull my hair out. :mad:

If you’re highly motivated, I would suggest a post-ovulatory schedule (at least to start out with). To get the full benefit of a cross-check, you will need to start doing your temperatures. It sounds like you need all the data you can get. The earlier you start with your temperatures, the better NFP will work for you.

Best wishes!

I can’t do it. I can think of no worse way to start a morning than by lying in bed with a thermometer in your mouth. It takes all the joy out of waking up.

Yes, the advice is the same as the advice given in the first thread: take a class and learn your method of choice from a qualified instructor and abstain until you have 4-6 months of charting

Calendar estimates are not accurate and not part of observation-based natural family planning methods.

Stress in general and stress of wedding planning in particular can also impact hormones and cycles in unpredictable ways. Therefore observation-based methods are more accurate and reliable.

I know you really want there to be a short cut. But there just isn’t.

The shortcut is buying a pack of condoms and telling my fiance to get over it :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m actually trying to avoid the shortcut, because I promised him I’d at least try NFP. But so far it’s a bust.

And frankly I’d rather skip communion for a few months and then go to confession and clear it up than either a) start married life with three more months of celibacy or b) risk getting pregnant right out of the gate.

Also, there are no classes in my area. I checked – the nearest one is more than an hour away. I also tried searching Google for doctors that specialize in NFP here – no dice on that either.

All I ever hear about NFP – usually from people who have like 8 kids – is how wonderful it is and how much it helps your marriage. So far all I’ve seen from it is a lot of additional stress and frustration; and a lot of additional expense, as the books, apps, fertility monitors, test strips, etc. add up to be more expensive than contraceptives are :stuck_out_tongue: (although books at least are a one time start-up cost…)

Also also, one of the reasons I went with the Marquette Method is because it specifically doesn’t require abstinence during the months when you first start charting – it just has slightly tougher rules about when you should/shouldn’t have sex for the first 6 months to adjust for the learning curve.

But those rules are still based on the readings you get from the fertility monitor – and my readings seem really wonky, so I’m not sure if they’'ll still apply properly :confused:

I can’t temp either, it just doesn’t work for me.

You mention what the monitor said, but nothing about mucus observations. I used Marquette for a few years, and I can tell you that, although there is a protocol for it, I would not be comfortable relying on the monitor solely. It’s meant to be a cross-check with your other observations.

If you had “low” fertility on the first day of testing, then peak, it’s not really that big of a deal because for the first 6 cycles, fertility begins on day 6 anyway. So if you were married, you would have already been abstaining. The rules include 6 months for the monitor to “get to know” your cycle, and that really does happen. I would recommend reading through all of the rules very carefully to make sure you understand them before adding intimacy in once you’re married.

Another tip- if you happen to have an off-cycle, and go through a certain number of strips (I think it’s 20, if I’m remembering correctly)…the monitor will automatically go to “low” again. In this case, you can reset the monitor and continue testing.

So, if I were you, I would:

  1. Pay much closer attention to mucus observations- that way, if it’s looking to you like you’re fertile, but the monitor says something else, you know to be more careful. And do not rely on the monitor alone.

  2. Make sure you understand the rules inside and out. Sometimes you will have a low to peak reading, without any highs in between. It happens, and I’ve found that more often than not, the monitor is correct. It’s not a problem with the method, it’s something going on with your body. As long as you follow the rules, the method works well. We avoided for a few years.

  3. Remember that this takes some time to get used to. There are no shortcuts, and particularly when planning a wedding, cycles can go a little wacky.

Yes, with the caveat that 4-6 months might not be necessary.

**We do NFP with 1) the CCL book 2) the TCOYF book (bought much later) and 3) a couple of thermometers (we started out with the CCL book and a thermometer). That’s it. We’ve been married 16 years, had our first born four years after getting married, have had four pregnancies and three live born children. It has worked for us, but it would not work without a lot of diligence and patience. **

That sounds like really good advice.

Also, QuasiCatholic, get your fiance involved with this as much as you can. This should not be your sole responsibility.

I agree that your fiancé should come to NFP classes. Read “a Cooperative method of birth control” written by The Farm years ago. Men are spoken to in this book. It is not Catholic but it truly gets men to step up to the plate.

Also I wondered if the shorter digital thermometers might make the morning check less annoying.

Yes, digital basal thermometers are pretty fast.

Thank you, this is helpful!

We just use observations. I am planning on getting her the monitor as a cross check so she feels better about having got it right. I wouldn’t worry about it on the honeymoon. You’re getting married. Having kids is great. You can’t have one right off anyway, 9 months is a long time.

Like other posters have said, use multiple methods to check. I use the Creighton NaPro model, so far it has worked, (I’ve been charting for years, married for a month) but like you, I have a wonky cycle, so I will be supplementing with a monitor.

I know exactly how you feel! When we got married, our honeymoon was not available either. Suffice to say, we had a beautiful time anyway! Since we had hardly seen each other for over a year, we got to catch up. Just use the time to be really sweet to each other - as our PreCanna counselors told us: “Foreplay beings as soon as you wake up” - that means, how respectfully you treat your spouse throughout the day plays into the quality of your intimate times together.

God bless!

I use Creighton model. There are no strips. There are no thermometers. You only have to abstain for one month. Ideally, you do it together as a couple and it does strenthen your marriage. It’s very accurate and doens’t rely on speculation at all. It does not take the joy out of waking up. :confused: It might take the joy out of peeing though.


This is why you need to find an instructor to help you ensure you are following the method correctly and give you confidence in it. I know that sometimes you can find instructors who will help you long-distance by giving classes online. If there are none close to you I would definitely look into that.

While of course I do not advise you to use contraception, if you do decide to do so please use it yourself rather than asking your husband to use it. This way he may still be able to avoid culpability in the matter and so still receive communion.

I would like to know how the readings with the monitor are wonky.

:thumbsup: Yes to all of this. I’d also recommend some light manipulation. Your bedroom should be completely dark - heavy black out shades, cover the alarm clock, don’t recharge your phone in your bedroom. Zero light. Then, when your fertility goes high and you start to have some slippery mucus you leave a very low watt nightlight on in the bedroom. It can spur ovulation. If you don’t want to do that manipulation, just sleep in complete darkness. Light, particularly blue based lights can wreak havoc with your cycle. If you need to turn a light on in the middle of the night, put a red bulb in a lamp and use that.

Also, have you had a complete physical? It wouldn’t hurt to check your thyroid (and other) levels.

Finally, what’s your BMI? A BMI right in the middle of the healthy range is the best for fertility and consistent cycles. Body fat is metabolically active and can impact your cycle. If you’re too thin, your body will shut down fertility.

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