God’s Green Plan for Your Family – Natural Family Planning

One of the questions you will likely be asked during marriage preparation is “How many children do you want?” While this may seem premature, it is important to begin discussing the desires you have for your future family. If one of you desires a large family, and the other is not open to the gift of children, you have a lot to talk about!

It is also helpful to talk about your plans for fulfilling those desires well before the honeymoon. This may go against what you believe, or what you have been taught by family, friends, in school, by your doctors or nurses, and from the culture, but it is the truth – contraception is not a safe and responsible way to plan your family, it thwarts God’s plan for life and love in marriage, and its use is an intrinsic evil. But do you know why?

The marital embrace was created by God to draw you together as one in intimacy and love in a unique and satisfying way while fulfilling God’s commandment to “be fertile and multiply”. It is simultaneously self-giving and life-giving, and God’s plan is that these elements not be separated. This is to help ensure that the act of marital love actually draws you closer together. When either element is absent, the act can easily be abused, with the most obvious example of engaging in it for purely selfish physical pleasure.

Recall from the previous section how we are called to love one another – freely, totally, faithfully and fruitfully. We are also called to this kind of love in each act of “making love”. If contraception is used, the marital embrace is neither free, total, faithful or fruitful.

Many couples wrongly assume that this teaching means that Catholic couples are called to have as many children as possible. While this may be what some couples discern is their call, many others, at least for some period in their marriage, may have a serious reason for delaying a pregnancy.

And the good news is that there is a natural, healthy, drug free, and scientific way that is highly effective in both delaying the conception of a child, and also in helping you to conceive a child. The method is Natural Family Planning (NFP).

In short, using the observable biological signs that God placed in a woman’s body, couples together track her fertility, and exercise the freedom to abstain from the martial embrace when they have together discerned through prayer that they are not ready for a(nother) child, and engage in intercourse during times of natural infertility, which is the majority of a woman’s cycle.

The scope of this guide does not provide the space necessary to discuss the fullness and beauty of the Church’s teachings on NFP, but please consider these important points.

  • NFP is the only method of family planning in line with Church teachings – it’s God’s Divine Plan!
  • NFP empowers husband and wife to know and understand each other’s body and the gift of fertility.
  • NFP helps foster respect, trust, communication and cooperation between husband and wife.
  • NFP helps to train a man to love a woman as Christ loves the Church, strengthening a couple’s spiritual bond with God and with each other.
  • NFP enhances couple communication and intimacy, building healthy and loving marriages with less than a 4% divorce rate.
  • NFP nurtures a deeper understanding and acceptance of children as blessings to be welcomed, treasured and loved beyond measure, building healthy and loving families.
  • Periodic abstinence, while not always easy, provides periods of time to focus on other ways to love and care for each other. Abstinence can make the heart grow fonder!
  • NFP is up to 99% effective when used to avoid or delay the conception of a child, and has been highly successful in helping couples conceive when issues of infertility arise. NFP is not the old school “rhythm method”.
  • Unlike oral contraceptives, there are no unwanted or harmful side effects.
  • NFP is as green and natural as you can get, with no synthetic drugs or chemicals, no devices, and no surgical procedures, yet scientifically researched and tested.
  • NFP is inexpensive, with minimal, and sometimes no ongoing costs after initial instruction and supplies.
  • Charting of fertility signs provides a valuable health record and diagnostic tool.

Individuals, couples, doctors, and nurses located throughout the diocese are professionally trained and devoted to helping you learn Natural Family Planning. Your priest and The Lourdes Center are also available to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to provide you with resources and encouragement. Some scholarships are available with participating providers through the Lourdes Center. Contact them at: tlc@sfcatholic.org for more information.

NFP Methods, Instructors & Physicians

1. Ovulation Method (Creighton Model)

Creighton Model FertilityCare practitioners provide NFP instruction in a series of private, personalized sessions with long-term professional follow-up care available. This method, which follows an allied health care model (NaProtechnology), has a high success rate not only in achieving and avoiding pregnancy, but also in treating infertility, chronic miscarriage, ovarian cysts, and other gynecologic problems. (Description by Creighton Model Personnel)
For more information, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact:
Avera St. Luke’s Fertility Care Services:
Marilyn Wachs, CFCP
David Wachs, MD, CFCMC, CFCP
Michael Knapp, DO, CFCMC
Susan Gutenkauf, FCP

Krystal Stuwe, FCP

Jody Thompsom – (605) 690-1529 | ThompsonJody12@gmail.com
Gettysburg: Anna Lacey, 605-769-0734 or cfcpannalacey@gmail.com
Sioux Falls
Avera McKennan FertilityCare Services:
Barb Giles, RNC, CFCP – (605) 322-4434 | Barbara.Giles@avera.org
Meghan Krueger – (605) 323-7320 | meghan1@me.com
Briana Mueller, FCP – (605) 299-5026 | brianafertilitycare@gmail.com
Donna Kramer, CFCP, NaPro – (402) 357-3596 (Fordyce, NE)
2. Sympto-Thermal Method (Couple to Couple League)
Couple to Couple League teachers are married couples that teach awareness of fertility and infertility patterns to alert for possible medical problems. This method helps couples achieve pregnancy if and when they’ve had difficulty. Sympto-thermal method is 99% effective in postponing pregnancy, 100% natural and safe, and low in cost so all couples can get the help they need. It also helps keep your marriage communication growing and is morally accepted. (Description by CCL Personnel)
For more information, and to schedule an introductory session, please contact:
Chamberlain Dr. Renee C. & Matthew Schroeder: (605) 234-1534
Huron Angie & Brad Schutt: (605) 461-8887
Pierre Michele & Pat Snyder: (605) 222-8319 or (605) 222-8345
A Home Study Course is also available through the CCL website at ccli.org.
3. Marquette Model of NFP 
The Marquette Model (MM) system brings 21st century technology to NFP. It is a system that uses an algorithm with other biological signs of fertility (i.e., urine hormones, mucus and/or temperature) to help identify the woman’s fertile window. The Clearblue fertility monitor is an at home device that measures hormone levels in urine to estimate the beginning and end of the time of fertility in a women’s menstrual cycle. The information from the monitor can be used in conjunction with observations of cervical mucus, basal body temperature, or other biological indicators of fertility. The MM was developed by professional nurses and physicians at Marquette University in the late 1990s. Learning how to monitor fertility through NFP aids a couple in the understanding, appreciation, and holistic integration of this precious gift. (Information from Marquette University Institute for Natural Family Planning) 
For more information, and to schedule an introductory session, please contact:
Bridget Bauman BSN, RN, NFP Teacher:
(605) 886-4049 or icparishwatertown.org | nurse@icparishwatertown.org
Sierra Cargill 
(712) 253-7408 or sierracargill@gmail.com
(available in person and via zoom)
4. Medical Consultants & NFP-only Physicians & Providers
Aberdeen David Wachs, MD, CFCMC, CFCP, Family Practice: (605) 225-0378
Michael Knapp, DO, FCMC, Family Practice (605) 225-0378
Chamberlain Dr. Renee C. Schroeder, DO, Family Practice (605) 234-6584
Sioux Falls Jane O. Gaetze, MD, FACOG, OB/GYN: (605) 322-8886
Sioux Falls Glenn Ridder, MD, Family Practice: (605) 328-5800
Sioux Falls Courtney Heynen, Certified Nurse Midwife, (605) 322-8946
Sioux Falls Rebecca Cooper, MD, Resident Family Physician: (605) 339-1783
Sioux Falls Marah VanDiest, MD, Resident Family Physician: (605) 339-1783
  • “NFP is…”, a short video by the Diocese of Phoenix 
  • “Go Green, Thinking Outside the Pill”, a short video by Barb Giles, RN, FCP, IBCLC, Avera Fertility Care
  • “Natural Family Planning, A Better Way”, a short video by Dr. Glenn Ridder, Family Practitioner and NFP Medical Consultant
  • “con

For Further Reflection

  • “Go Green, Thinking Outside the Pill”, a short video by Barb Giles, RN, FCP, IBCLC, Avera Fertility Care