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  • Writer's pictureJulie McKay, FCP

Make no decisions in the heat of ovulation

Updated: Apr 23

Couple in love

Ovulation...the time when estrogen runs high and desire for intercourse can be increased. It is only natural that couples would desire to be close and united to each other during this time. However, for couples who are avoiding pregnancy, this can be challenging time. They must rely on other forms of intimacy (SPICE) during the time of fertility. What if the thought pops into one or both spouses' minds during the fertile window, "Well, isn't today just a little bit fertile?" Or "Well this day isn't that fertile." As the one Creighton FertilityCare Educator told us in our training, "You don't get a little bit pregnant." Days are either fertile or infertile. This kind of thinking or "I's" on the chart on fertile days for the couple avoiding pregnancy may mean that they are reconsidering their intention. It can also mean that the couple is finding it difficult to avoid genital contact during the fertile time of the cycle.

Since we are not the bedroom police, we as practitioners will not tell you what your intention should be or if you should have intercourse or not on any particular days. However, I will offer a suggestion, if you are wavering on your resolve to avoid pregnancy during the fertile window of your cycle, I would pause and take time to pray, discern, and discuss how you and your spouse are feeling. If it feels like you should rush and switch your intention right now, it is not likely to be the Holy Spirit speaking to you. We humans tend to be quite impatient, but God is not. You have time to make a decision. While the ovulation hormones are running high is not the best time to make this decision. As Humanae Vitae states, "With regard to physical, economic, psychological and social conditions, responsible parenthood is exercised by those who prudently and generously decide to have more children, and by those who, for serious reasons and with due respect to moral precepts, decide not to have additional children for either a certain or an indefinite period of time." Every married couple is called to responsible parenthood. These decisions require us to take into account many factors and must not be made based off of emotions. As Humanae Vitae states, "With regard to man's innate drives and emotions, responsible parenthood means that man's reason and will must exert control over them."

If you are struggling to discern your intentions in using NFP or just want to learn more about what the Church teaches about the discernment required in planning a family, I would recommend reading Humanae Vitae. It is an accessible and fairly short read. If you would like to learn more about discernment, I would recommend learning more about Ignatian discernment. This website is one place to start.

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