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I don’t have 28-Day cycles, can I still use NFP?

Some women think that “regular” means having a 28-Day cycle. A typical cycle range is 23-40 days, so a week variation in one’s cycle is considered typical. Even women who do not have “regular” cycles can use NFP. In all cases, it is important to learn from a certified NFP Provider.

What about using NFP with cycles that aren’t typical? I’ve been told that I can’t use NFP because my cycles are irregular; is that true?

No, it is not true. NFP works no matter what the woman’s cycling pattern. It can be used with long or short cycles, when discontinuing hormonal contraception, as well as during breastfeeding and premenopause. While Calendar Rhythm required regular cycles because it was based upon a woman’s cycling history, modern NFP methods are based upon day-to-day observations with decisions about fertility based upon those observations.

How can NFP help a couple who wants to have a baby?

A great benefit of NFP is the same information couples use to avoid a pregnancy, can help them know the best time to achieve a pregnancy. It also provides for very early identification of pregnancy and the information to set a correct due date. NFP chart information helps identify fertility problems and the best times for fertility tests.

I am expecting a baby and will be breastfeeding it. Will I be able to use NFP while breastfeeding?

The return of fertility after giving birth depends upon whether or not a woman is breastfeeding and how she is breastfeeding. It also depends upon the individual woman—there is a wide range of when fertility returns. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to consult with an NFP Provider for specific recommendations for your cycling pattern based upon your charting.

What’s involved in using NFP while breastfeeding?

Just as at other times, it is important to chart while breastfeeding, even if cycling is delay for many months. Ovulation can precede your first bleeding, and you will need to make observations as well as chart and interpret them to know when you become fertile. Because ovulation may not occur for many months, the cervical mucus observation is the focus during this time. However, it is recommended that the temperature observation may be made as well. It is important to work with a certified NFP Provider for feedback during this time.

What’s involved in using NFP as one approaches menopause?

During this time of life, cycles may become more irregular—both shorter and longer. Because of this it is important to consider the days of menstruation possibly fertile. If a short cycle occurs, the cervical mucus flow may begin during the heavy flow days and be masked by the bleeding. Beyond that, it is important that there be good, consistent charting. Both the cervical mucus sign and temperature pattern provide valuable information about the fertile and infertile times. It is important to work with a certified NFP Provider for feedback during this time.

I want to discontinue hormonal contraception. Should I learn NFP first and then discontinue it or should I discontinue it now?

To really learn NFP, first you need to discontinue your use of contraception. While you may be able to learn the method in a theoretical sense, an important piece of learning NFP is to apply the information to your own cycles. Any charting you do while using hormonal contraception will reflect those hormones not your own cycling pattern.

How long will it take for me to return to my own cycling pattern?

It depends on the type of hormonal contraception you were using and your individualized response to it. Those discontinuing a hormonal IUD or birth control pills have a quicker return to typical cycling than someone discontinuing injectable contraception or implants. No matter how long it takes for cycling to return, NFP can be used confidently. It is important to work with a certified NFP Provider for feedback during this time.