From A to Z on NFP – Arlington Catholic Herald

This year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops marksJuly 25-31 as Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.

Natural Family Planning, sometimes called fertility-awarenessbased methods, is an umbrella term for certain methods used to achieve andavoid pregnancies. There are several methods including the Sympto-ThermalMethod, Creighton Model FertilityCare System and the Marquette Model that arebased on charting the observations of the naturally occurring signs andsymptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's cycle.

In 1968, Pope Paul VI issued the encyclical Humanae Vitae, affirming the churchs long-standingteaching that direct sterilization, whether of the man or of the woman,whether permanent or temporary is not permitted.

Humanae Vitae states that the purpose of married love is bothunitive and procreative. Using artificial birth control frustrates (Gods)design which constitutes the norm of marriage, and contradicts the will of theAuthor of life.

However, if married couples for well-grounded reasons need topostpone having a child, they can abstain when a woman is fertile, (taking)advantage of the natural cycles immanent in the reproductive system, (and) thuscontrolling birth in a way which does not in the least offend moralprinciples.

NFP has a reputation of being ineffective in part because of theunreliable rhythm method. However, modern-day fertility-based awareness methodscan be very effective at preventing and achieving pregnancy. In fact, an appcalled Natural Cycles is an FDA-approved birth control method.

Using artificial contraception can come with negative health sideeffects such as mood swings, migraines and weight gain, and occasionally moreserious complications such as blood clots or gallbladder disease. NFP has nonegative health impact.

When using NFP, a woman is more aware of what's going on in herbody, and can more easily detect health problems. Couples can get pregnant morequickly as they already know how to recognize fertile periods. NFP users havethe assurance that they are following Gods teaching regarding marriage andfamily.

However, NFP does require self-discipline: not only in terms ofcharting every day, but also because it requires abstinence if the couple doesnot want to conceive. Spouses need to have strong communication skills todetermine if they want to have a child and how to achieve or avoid conceiving.

NFP can be difficult for a number of reasons. Learning an NFPmethod can be complicated at first. Health problems that would complicatepregnancies can necessitate long periods of abstinence. NFP helps many couples identifyissues that contribute to infertility, but others are still unable to conceive.As with other methods used to prevent pregnancy, NFP is not 100 percenteffective and some couples may become pregnant unintentionally.

-Information compiled in part by the Office of Marriage, Familyand Respect Life.

Megan Floro is a nurse practitioner and a Marquette Modelinstructor through Tepeyac OB/GYN in Fairfax. With Marquette, couples track thewomans fertility using a ClearBlue Fertility Monitor, a device that tests forfemale reproductive hormones. Floro believes the device takes a lot of theguesswork out of interpreting fertile signs. Its really objective and easy touse, she said. NFP is not the antique rhythm method, were using prettyhigh-tech devices.

With Marquette, Floro also can help women identify health issues.Having this really specific information about your hormones, what theyre doingevery month, can actually help diagnose different problems, such as hormonaldisorders or infertility, said Floro, a parishioner of St. Thomas BecketChurch in Reston.

As with other NFP methods, it can also help a couple get pregnantfaster. I had one patient who had been married two years and been trying (toconceive) for two years and hadnt had any success. (They) started charting,and got pregnant after one month of charting, she said. They dont all turnout like that, for some women it can be a little bit of a longer journey.

Susannah Cavanaugh, a parishioner of St. John the Baptist Churchin Front Royal, is a certified fertility care practitioner with Saint Teresa'sFertility Care Center. My husband and I learned the Sympto-Thermal Method whenwe were engaged and while learning that learning so much about my own bodyand seeing how it affected our communication I decided right then and there Iwanted to teach this someday, she said.

Cavanaugh now teaches couples the Creighton Model FertilityCareSystem. With Creigthon, you just observe external biomarkers when you go tothe bathroom all day long. Thats it, she said.

With the birth control pill, you take the pill every day. Justlike with hormonal birth control, you have to do something every day for(Creighton) to be effective, so its really in your hands how effective themethod is, said Cavanaugh. Fertility-based awareness methods are about aseffective as hormonal birth control at preventing pregnancy, said Cavanaugh.Basically the only thing that has a lower failure rate is being sterilized orthe Depo injection (a birth control that is injected via a shot), which bothcome with huge costs, she said.

Creighton also encourages its users to find ways to connect onmultiple planes. We teach SPICE itsan acronym for spiritual, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional. Beingable to share with each other on all those levels increases communication,which directly affects the way a couple uses NFP, said Cavanaugh. (One couplesaid) that was one of the things that they really loved. Wow, were talking somuch more about things that we really care about. That definitely helped theirmarriage.

Go to the diocesan website.

Read the original:
From A to Z on NFP - Arlington Catholic Herald

Related Post

Comments are closed.