Using NFP to avoid pregnancy


Don’t know if I’m posting in the right forum…

Now, I am hearing different views on this by Catholics…I had, at one time read sources that said NFP is okay to use to keep from getting pregnant because it is a natural form of birth control, not artificial.

But apparently, say if you decide you don’t want to have children anymore, (say after child number 3) “Okay, honey, let’s start practicing NFP.”

Someone had stated that this in itself is ALSO wrong. If it is, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose of NFP?


Humanae vitae stated that financial, psychological and medical reasons may be “good reason” for avoiding pregnancy, “even indefinitely.” This does not mean that the decision to limit the number of children in your family may be made for trivial reasons (they ALL have to go to Harvard! I NEED a Hummer!). But the gravity of the need is left to the prayerful discernment of the couple. If you want a specific directive of “it’s OK” or “it’s not OK” you won’t find it. Individual circumstances vary widely. Individual capacity varies widely.


You two need to make a monthly decision, in prayer, wither or not the Lord is calling you to care for more of His children.

Other than that, enjoy! I think you will find that your relationship will grow immensely.


This is a common subject here… no worries!

First… NFP is not “birth control” because you aren’t simply having sex whenever you feel like it and controlling your fertility at the same time…
NFP is making the choice to abstain at certain times if you, as a couple, feel it is necessary.

The debate that will often come up is “when is it necessary”…
The catechism says…

A particular aspect of this responsibility concerns the regulation of procreation. For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness but is in conformity with the generosity appropriate to responsible parenthood. Moreover, they should conform their behavior to the objective criteria of morality:

    When it is a question of harmonizing married love with the responsible transmission of life, the morality of the behavior does not depend on sincere intention and evaluation of motives alone; but it must be determined by objective criteria, criteria drawn from the nature of the person and his acts, criteria that respect the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love; this is possible only if the virtue of married chastity is practiced with sincerity of heart.156

"By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its orientation toward man’s exalted vocation to parenthood."157

Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality.158 These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, “every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible” is intrinsically evil:159

    Thus the innate LANGUAGE that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory LANGUAGE, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality. . . . The difference, both anthropological and moral, between contraception and recourse to the rhythm of the cycle . . . involves in the final analysis two irreconcilable concepts of the human person and of human sexuality.160

Many will try to argue exactly what those JUST reasons are. That is between you, your spouse, and God alone.

I hope that helps a little…
NFP is a totally allowable technique to use as faithful Catholics… don’t ever worry about that! The fact that you’re using NFP means you’re being “open to life”… open to God’s will in your life…

God bless!


While there is no requirement to make having a child a month-by-month decision, this is good and prudent advice because even morally acceptable practices can turn into a bad habit.


A pope (forgot who it was, sorry) wrote in his Letter to Midwives that there are 4 general categories of acceptable reasons to limit the number of children in your family. Economic, Medical, Genetic (high probability of genetic disorder in future children), and in situations where daily life is disrupted as in war or natural disasters, etc. We are definitely not bound to have as many children as quickly as we possibly can regardless of the situation. You might find that today with 3 kids your money is stretched to the limit. But next year, you might get a raise and your 3 kids are a little older, and you might discover that you feel that you can handle another one now.

Whenever people ask us how many kids we want, we tell them that we don’t know and that we’re taking it one pregnancy at a time :slight_smile: Having this sort of mindset is also exciting–leaving the final decision up to God to give you the kids He wants you to have rather than you putting an artificial cap on the number.


Would using NFP while in college because of financial reasons be considered a ligitimate use of NFP?:confused:


Are your motivations selfish? (do a little self examination)

Or are you seeking to finish school so that you can provide for your family with a good career? That’s not a selfish motivation. :smiley:


Definitly not selfish. I want to have a big family but need to be able to set up a foundation to support it first :slight_smile: . Just wanted to see what others thought because this came up in conversation with my mother who had spoken to someone (very Catholic according to her) who says that being in college is not a good enough reason to practice NFP. My opinion would be that it would be okay. Thanks for your insight.


Sounds ok. But also remember you are under no obligation to follow the cookie-cutter pattern of high-school, college, find girl, get degree, get decent job, climb career ladder, THEN have children. Children are always a blessing even if they appear in less than ideal circumstances. I’m having children much later in life and wish I had lots more lots sooner.


My husband has a temper problem … anger from childhood trauma he’s still dealing with. Sometimes it affects the kids…we have 4 children: 11, 9, 3 and 1. I’m stable, but there are times when it’s almost as though I’m helping him heal his boyhood wounds, as though he were my 5th child (mother abandoned him).

We are using NFP because at this point…it’s very difficult.

We are always open to what God wants, though. If there is another blessing, then for us, it’s a sign that we’re growing emotionally and that we can handle another baby, somehow…that God will make it possible, even with our mental/emotional limitations.

The nice thing is we want our children to be whole, and not suffer what we suffered…and I think to know this makes us very competent people, doesn’t it?

We leave everything to Him.



I agree. However, if my girlfriend (hopefully soon fiancee then wife) goes back to school, it would be detrimental (sp?) if she were to get pregnant. The reason being that she plans on getting her masters in art. With art there are many chemicals and such that may be harmful for an expectant mother to be around. Once we are engaged, I plan on speaking about this further with the priest and deacon at our parish.


Understandable, but come the end of time what is more important?


What is more important? Following the will of God with reckless abandon, of course. Unfortunatly, God’s will is not always black and white, although I keep hoping He would write a bulletted “to do/not do” list for me and send it to me via email… :wink:


That’d be nice wouldn’t it?


I wouldn’t worry about this too much. What sort of art is your girlfriend studying? Unless she’s in clay or some types of sculpture, there isn’t much too be concerned with. And then, the chemicals that could be harmful to an unborn baby would be harmful to the mother as well, so basic safety procedures (masks, eye protection) should be used when handling them.

And, when you get your email from God, let us know how to sign up!


I am totally uneducated in art but she is into printmaking which involves some sort of chemicals. Aquatent (sp?) is another word I have heard floating around, but my ignorance leaves me at a bit of a loss in this area.

Thanks for your encouarging words. Oh and I’ll let you know as soon as I get on the “Jesus listserve” :wink: .


That would be neat, find out God’s Will at 100.0 Mbps…
Anyways, something that helps me in discerning whether or not we have serious reasons is to think that when I die, how will I feel telling God that I could not have children at the moment because of x or y. Also, I would not like to find out that He had plans for these other souls that, due to our selfishness or cowardice/fear, will never exist. With that said, NFP is a beautiful tool given to us by the Church/God and it can be used (for avoiding children) when needed without hesitation (after prayerful discernment).


Good point. My priest says he has seen many people at the end of their lives. Many tell him they wish they’d had more children. He has yet to hear anyone say they wish they’d had fewer.



I had to tell you I love your signature line, may I borrow that phrase some time?

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