Skip Navigation Linksnaturalfamilyplanning

Catholic Charities > Services > Natural Family Planning

 Natural Family Planning

Client Comments

“Great information presented very well. I left feeling confident in the Program.”
1 - 1Next

Questions? Contact us.

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a collective term for modern, healthy, accurate, and reliable methods of family planning. NFP is based on scientific fact and research. It is safe and natural to use. There are no harmful side effects to the body.

NFP methods are based on observing specific body changes, which occur in each woman during the menstrual cycle. These changes occur due to hormonal activity as each cycle progresses.

Family 1.jpgNFP instruction helps a couple identify fertile and non-fertile times in each cycle. Once this is determined, the couple can make an informed decision regarding sexual intercourse based on their motivation to avoid, postpone, plan or achieve pregnancy.

Unlike artificial methods of birth control, NFP is based on the natural biology of the human person and does not rely on drugs, devices, or surgical procedures. It respects the nature and dignity of our created bodies. It enables users to work with the body rather than against the body.

NFP invites better marriages. NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the value of the child. Marital relationships are strengthened as communication, mutual cooperation, and joint responsibility are enhanced.

NFP is highly effective when used correctly and consistently. It promotes increased self, body, and health awareness.

 The CM-BBT Method

​Cervical Mucus-Basal Body Temperature (CM-BBT) is a sympto-thermal medical model of Natural Family Planning. The method has its basis in the natural pattern of a woman's menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle occurs because of certain hormonal activity.

The CM-BBT Method is family planning through the knowledge of two specific body changes that occur in every woman during her menstrual cycle due to this hormonal activity.

The first change that is seen is in the vaginal secretions, or cervical mucus, which indicates that ovulation is pending.

Family 2.jpgThe second change occurs in the body's resting, or basal temperature, which indicates that ovulation has passed.

By observing, charting, and interpreting the changes that occur in the cervical mucus and the body's resting temperature, a couple can determine the fertile and non-fertile days in each cycle. This knowledge allows them to make informed decisions about intercourse as each cycle progresses.

This medically based, highly-effective method allows the couple to determine the woman's changing fertility each day. Depending on the couple's motivation, the CM-BBT method can be used to postpone, avoid, plan or achieve pregnancy.

Continued education, follow up, and support are provided by the CM-BBT professional via mail interpretations and/or phone contact, moving the couple toward self-sufficiency in using the method.

 CM-BBT Instruction Sessions

Class size is restricted. Pre-registration is required. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions at this time, VIRTUAL NFP CM-BBT Instruction Sessions are now available.

For more information or to register for an instruction session, please contact 412-641-8103.

 Advantages of CM-BBT

  • ​A natural, safe, and effective way to plan families
  • Based on scientific research and data
  • Morally acceptable
  • No harmful side effects; no drugs to be bought; no devices to be used
  • Promotes increased health awareness
  • Ninety-seven percent effective when used correctly and consistently
  • Nominal fee
  • Can be used throughout a woman's entire reproductive life years
  • Invites better marriages
  • Respects the two-fold nature of sexual intercourse. Sexual relations are understood as love-giving as well as life-giving
  • Enhances mutual cooperation, couple involvement, communication, and joint responsibility within relationships
  • Environmentally sound

 Get Answers

Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Natural Family Planning. Still have a question?  Contact 412-641-8103.
How long does it take to learn CM-BBT?

​Clients are required to attend a two-hour instruction session provided by a medically certified CM-BBT professional who teaches the woman how to chart her current cycle. The couple receives instruction on how to become aware of mucus and temperature changes that will occur in each menstrual cycle. Guidelines are given to determine fertile and non-fertile times as each cycle progresses. After the training session, the woman keeps daily charts and mails them to the CM-BBT professional at the onset of each period. The CM-BBT professional then interprests each chart and returns the information to the client in written format. This continued education, follow-up, and support are provided until the client becomes self-sufficient in the use of the method.

I am breastfeeding. Is the CM-BBT method effective while breastfeeding?

​Your unique metabolism, plus the following factors, will determine your fertility and the length of time without a menstrual period:

  • How well your baby sucks at the breast
  • If you are completely breastfeeding (meaning no supplemental bottles or solid food)
  • The length of time between feedings (including the overnight sleep pattern of the baby)

Through daily charting of these factors, you will be able to identify the relationship between breastfeeding and your fertility.

CM-BBT is particularly appropriate with breastfeeding since it provides you with the ability to avoid conception, as you knowingly use the time for intercourse when your fertility is naturally suppressed. More importantly, it offers you the ability to recognize when your fertility returns.

I want to get off the pill. How long before I can rely on the CM-BBT method?

​When one discontinues hormonal medication, fertility returns. Wetness may be more pronounced and cycle and period lengths may be longer. All of this occurs because the medication is hormonal and has suppressed your own body's hormone activity. Your body must reestablish its own production and regulation of hormones. This may take a few cycles. Applying guidelines to the daily observations being made will help to determine fertile and non-fertile times as the cycles begin to readjust.

Is Natural Family Planning the same as the calendar rhythm method?

​NFP is not the "Rhythm" Method.

The Calendar Rhythm Method was developed in the 1930s. It was based on the theory that ovulation could be determined by calculating previous menstrual cycles. This method often proved inaccurate due to the unique nature of each woman's menstrual cycle. Some women have very irregular cycle lengths, and almost all women have a cycle of unusual length every so often.

NFP methods are based on the day-to-day observations of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the infertile and fertile phases of a woman's cycle. Each cycle is treated as unique; sameness in each cycle is not a necessary component for effective use.

My cycles are not regular. Will I be able to use the CM-BBT method effectively?

​CM-BBT involves taking your daily temperature and making mucus observations throughout the day. Each day, one applies CM-BBT guidelines to determine the day's fertility. Informed decisions regarding sexual intercourse need to be made daily. Each cycle is unique. Each woman is unique.

Really, how effective is CM-BBT?

​CM-BBT is ninety-seven percent effective when used correctly and consistently.

We have been trying to get pregnant. I do not know if we will be able to conceive. Can the CM-BBT method help us?

​Ovulation is necessary for a pregnancy to occur. Learning to chart daily temperature and mucus observations will afford you the opportunity to "see on paper" if ovulation is occuring in each cycle. if ovulation is occuring, fertile and non-fertile days will be evident, and you will learn how to make appropriate use of the fertile time.

What is the most effective way to learn NFP?

​The best way to learn NFP is from a qualified instructor who is certified through a NFP training program.

© Copyright © Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg | A 501 (c) (3) corporation | All Rights Reserved

711 East Pittsburgh Street | Greensburg, PA 15601 | (P) 724-837-1840 | (F) 724-837-4077 | Feedback | Privacy Policy

Non-Profit Status
Catholic Charities is listed in the Official Catholic Directory and is a non-profit organization, designated as a 501 (c) (3) corporation by the Internal Revenue Service. This ruling is issued annually as a group tax exemption for all organizations listed in the current Official Catholic Directory. All contributions to Catholic Charities are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The official registration and financial information of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1·800· 732·0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.

All Catholic Charities staff and volunteers are mandated reporters of child abuse. All Catholic Charities staff and volunteers maintain current clearances as required by the Diocese of Greensburg and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information please refer to

Diocese of Greensburg United Way