Natural Methods – Natural Family Planning

What About Prevention?

“An ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure.” This past May, Karen Malec succumbed to her last bout with cancer. She had survived colon cancer as a young mother but a particularly virulent form of ovarian cancer took her life despite a valiant struggle. Karen was a great activist who challenged medical authorities and government agencies entrusted to advance medicine to tell the scientific truth known by scientists but denied to the public. She wanted women to know the truth of the abortion breast cancer link and that hormonal birth control caused cancer. Karen was President of the Abortion Breast Cancer Coalition from its inception in 1999. She created an informative web site that was encyclopedic in its breadth and depth. She was a teacher, and although she had no medical background, she did become an expert when it came to the medical literature about abortion’s link to breast cancer. She was also very knowledgeable about oral contraceptives as a known carcinogen for breast cancer. She never lost her outrage that although many in the scientific community knew that abortion and the Pill were linked to breast cancer, especially in young women, they were silent when it came to informing the public of these risks. For example, Karen and I both knew the results of the 2009 Dolle study which showed a 320% increase risk of an especially aggressive breast cancer in young women on the Pill. But Karen became angry and indignant that one of the co-authors was Louise Brinton, a National Cancer Institute authority who, despite having been part of a 2003 NCI Workshop, now...

Natural Family Planning (NFP): Users Speak Out

NFP Strengthened Our Marriage “Contraception had been distorting their view of each other.” Matt and Shannon met in college and quickly became serious. A non-practicing Catholic, Matt left the responsibility of managing their fertility to Shannon and the pill. When they became pregnant less than a year later, there were feelings of failure and blame. They married and after their daughter was born they turned to condoms. Intimacy became artificial and an act of duty. When they became pregnant again, their marriage was struggling. Then Matt and Shannon read a book that mentioned NFP, and Matt began to look into it seriously. Shannon resisted, believing all NFP families had 10 children and that it wouldn’t work with her irregular cycles. But when Shannon read … predictions that marital and societal problems would occur if contraception became the norm, this struck a chord and they took a CCL (Couple to Couple League) class. Shannon learned how to improve her cycles through nutrition and stress management. They became a team when it came to their fertility. Communication improved in all aspects of their marriage, strengthening it. During the next six years, they successfully postponed pregnancy while Shannon finished her degree… Three months after discerning that they no longer had just reasons to avoid pregnancy, their third child was conceived.     NFP Helped Us Postpone Pregnancy, Even With Serious Health Issues When Angela was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) the doctors told her the best treatment was the pill. After she and Jason became engaged, they learned NFP as part of their marriage preparation. They worked with a NaproTechnology physician...

Fertility Software the New Face of Natural Family Planning (2011)

Fertility Software the New Face of Natural Family Planning The developer of new fertility management software says it is becoming the “new face” for natural family planning. It can assist couples in conceiving or in avoiding pregnancy… “FertileView strengthens marriages and supports the natural order for marriage,” said Tim Boh, owner of the Colorado-based software developer Novuscor. Novuscor’s FertileView software collects “very specific” information about ovulation and fertility that allows women to understand “exactly what their bodies are doing” in a way that is “uniquely supporting to the individual,” Boh told CNA in a recent interview. The program helps women and their husbands structure their actions around their “fertility goals.” Users of many fertility monitoring systems, in his view, feel like they are not involved. “They don’t understand what they’re doing,” he said. “We’ve created a process by which people can have immediate feedback about themselves. That’s the part, I think, that people get really excited about.” The FertileView software handles the interpretation portion of fertility monitoring. Users only need to be trained in fertility observation. They can enter the information into the program and don’t have to use the “stickers and dots” of the standard natural family planning class. “We can literally train people on our method in 45-50 minutes,” Boh said. He explained that FertileView captures biomedical data for each user and creates an individual cycle program for each woman. The more she uses FertileView, the more data is compiled about her cycle. The software pinpoints a woman’s ovulation and predicts the best time to achieve pregnancy, helping to address fertility issues. The software comes amid widespread...

Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive

Landmark Study Demonstrates Natural IVF Alternative Effective in Helping Infertile Couples Conceive (2008) Researchers from the International Institute of Restorative Reproductive Medicine have published a study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine which confirms that natural procreative technology, called NaProTechnology or NPT – a non-invasive fertility-care based medical approach to the treatment of infertility – provided live birth rates comparable or superior to more invasive treatments, including assisted reproductive technology (ART) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). NPT was developed from thirty years of scientific research in the study of the normal and abnormal states of the menstrual and fertility cycles by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers. Dr. Hilgers is the director of the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction and the National Center for Women’s Health in Omaha, Nebraska. He is currently a senior medical consultant in obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine and surgery at the Pope Paul VI Institute and a clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine. The study was conducted in Ireland and involved 1072 couples who had who sought medical help because of difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. Dr. Phil Boyle, one of the study authors and director of the Galway NaProTechnology Medical Centre, explained that NPT can often resolve infertility or miscarriages by detecting and correcting problems overlooked by standard approaches. “Nearly half the patients we see have been told they have unexplained infertility,” said Dr. Boyle. “After NPT investigations, 2/3 of the patients had a hormone abnormality and more than 1/4 were diagnosed with cervical...

Interview with a Leading Proponent of Natural Family Planning on the Dangers of Contraception (2008)

In an excusive LifeSiteNews.com interview, Mercedes Wilson, founder and President of the Natural Family Planning organization, Family for the Americas, explained the negative effects contraception has on a woman's body and on a couple's marriage.  She also described Family for the Americas' mission to spread knowledge of NFP to the poor and confirmed that when practiced properly, it is 99 percent effective.  Her organization has taught millions in over 100 nations and in 20 different languages about NFP, not only by teaching people how to practice it, but also how to themselves become teachers of NFP. Q:  How does your organization carry out its mission to spread awareness and knowledge of NFP? A:  Our main work for the last 10-15 years has been training new teachers. We have developed the most comprehensive training manual for training teachers. We do this all over the world, including the U.S., the developing world, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, including China.  We train by using CD ROMs and videos, but we believe the most useful tools are the simplest materials, and that is why our book has been published in 21 languages.  We have training manuals and posters, because many times the poor countries don't have electricity.  Our systems of posters teach the whole method for women undergoing every situation of the reproductive life, from fertility to pre-menopause. Q: Which types of birth control methods do you find the people who come to you are using the most and what are the dangers associated with these? A:  It depends on the country.   In the U.S. women are still using the pill, but...

Natural Family Planning, Radical Openness to Life Gains Ground (2008)

[NOTE: Religiously oriented articles rarely appear on this website. However, the editor felt this particular article to be noteworthy.] After decades of division over issues surrounding fertility and the moral issues inherent to procreation, many protestants are now turning away from the contraceptive culture and towards the scientifically-based Natural Family Planning (NFP), a completely natural method, that allows couples to "space" children without the use of artificial contraceptives. NFP, which is based upon a thorough knowledge of the woman's fertility cycle, is also said to be equally effective for attaining pregnancy as it is for avoiding it. In an August 10th article in the Austin Statesmen entitled, "Some Protestants Find Spiritual Appeal in Natural Family Planning: Protestants are avoiding artificial contraception for religious reasons," several protestant couples are questioned on their choice. Katie Fox, 31, says that though her mother specifically left the Church for its failure to condone contraceptives, it is precisely this moral stance that she has come to share. The Taylors, a twenty-something Texonian couple, are one of the several couples at Hope Chapel, their non-denominational church, who are embracing NFP as a moral means of family planning. After reading a book about how the birth control pill often turns the uterus into a hostile environment for a newly fertilized egg, Phaedra Taylor, who was already opposed to abortion, recognized the pill as being morally wrong. "I feel like [NFP] really works in harmony with the way that God designed our bodies to work," she said. "In contrast with the pill, which works by altering and suppressing our natural systems, NFP works by supporting those systems...

Interview on Natural Family Planning and Contraception (2008)

Interview with World's Leading Proponent of Natural Family Planning on the Dangers of Contraception In an excusive interview, Mercedes Wilson, founder and President of the Natural Family Planning organization, Family for the Americas, explained the negative effects contraception has on a woman's body and on a couple's marriage.  She also described Family for the Americas' mission to spread knowledge of NFP to the poor, and confirmed that when practiced properly, it is 99 percent effective.  Her organization has taught millions in over 100 nations and in 20 different languages about NFP, not only by teaching people how to practice it, but also how to themselves become teachers of NFP. Q:  How does your organization carry out its mission to spread awareness and knowledge of NFP? A:  Our main work for the last 10-15 years has been training new teachers. We have developed the most comprehensive training manual for training teachers. We do this all over the world, including the U.S., the developing world, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia, including China.  We train by using CD ROMs and videos, but we believe the most useful tools are the simplest materials, and that is why our book has been published in 21 languages.  We have training manuals and posters, because many times the poor countries don't have electricity.  Our systems of posters teach the whole method for women undergoing every situation of the reproductive life, from fertility to pre-menopause. Q: Which types of birth control methods do you find the people who come to you are using the most and what are the dangers associated with these? A:  It depends...

Women Turning to Natural Methods of Birth Control (CycleBeads)

Amanda Zamani of Asheville, N.C., never really liked hormonal birth control and its effects on her body. She had a hard time remembering to take a birth-control pill at the same time every day, and she felt that the hormones exacerbated her emotional ups and downs. "As a whole, I just try to avoid taking extra medications," said the mother of two toddlers. "I don't steer towards medicine as the first route for headaches or colds." …[I]n 2006, she saw CycleBeads on sale at a health food store. A string of 32 color-coded beads, CycleBeads identify the 12 days in a woman's menstrual cycle during which she is likely to be fertile. Being aware of the days on which pregnancy is most likely can be helpful both for women who are looking to become pregnant — and for women such as Zamani who are not. Zamani, 25, now keeps her CycleBeads in her bathroom and moves the black ring that is used to track days onto the next bead each morning. "It's very helpful," she said. "I'm not planning on changing." Deciding against the pill Zamani is part of a small but dedicated number of women who are practicing medication-free birth control with a clinically tested approach that is part of their desire to embrace a back-to-basics lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent study on the use of contraception and family planning services in the United States, 0.7 percent of women were using the calendar/rhythm method in 2002, and 0.2 percent were using other natural family planning methods. Though use of the rhythm...

NFP: Sympto-Thermal Method

Compared to Chemical Birth Control, here is a fair description of the natural family planning Sympto-Thermal Method (STM): Effectiveness. **Effectiveness depends upon how correctly the STM is used: Of 100 couples using the STM correctly for one year, one or less will become pregnant. Of 100 couples using the STM but with some not following the rules, anywhere from 3 to 15 will become pregnant depending upon the frequency of "taking chances", i.e., intercourse during the fertile time.   Advantages. **All natural; no drugs or devices are needed. The body is not polluted. **Inexpensive. No continuing cost after the initial training, thermometer, and charts. **Normally involves spouse in mutual fertility awareness. **Tends to increase spousal "romance" during abstinent times. **Acceptable to all religions. **A scientific method based upon systematic observation and recording of the natural, periodic signs of fertility and infertility.   Disadvantages. **Requires systematic charting. **Requires mutual decisions about abstinence.   Side Effects. **No physical effects. **Most couples report improved marriages and improved sex lives. **Some couples do not accept periodic abstinence.   Health Factors to Consider. **No health risks. **Increased body-awareness can lead to early detection of physical disorders.   Long Term Effect on Ability to Have Children. **No adverse effects.   Increased fertility awareness can help couples of marginal fertility to conceive.   Proponents of natural family planning (NFP) can find much more to say about the advantages of NFP, but the above was written in the style of a birth control comparison chart published some years ago by the FDA and adopted or adapted by many popular magazines in recent years.   The time has...

NaProTECHNOLOGY: Health Care Women Really Need

NaProTECHNOLOGY is the name of a dynamic, universal women’s health science developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers and his colleagues [PPVI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Omaha, Nebraska]. Evolving over three decades of clinical research, Natural Procreative Technology (NPT or NaPro) utilizes a standardized and prospective system of cyclic monitoring1 whose biofeedback is critical in helping women understand their health and fertility. One abiding hallmark distinguishes NPT’s 30-year history: A woman’s health care goals — the regulation of fertility or the identification and treatment of reproductive abnormalities — are realized in cooperation with her natural gynecologic system. Here I bring the defining concepts and accomplishments of NPT into dialogue with those of the Woman’s Health Movement (WHM),2 a major health care initiative that, since the 1960s, has continued to gain momentum in American mainstream medicine. Speaking for the former is a representative group of female patients who recount their experiences with NPT in a book entitled Women Healed.3 Personifying the latter are the initial architects and contemporary leaders of the WHM. What the reader is about to discover is how a comparative “conversation” between these two contemporary health care phenomena elegantly sets the power of NPT in bold relief. First, NaPro embodies all that is worthy in the WHM. Second, NaPro eclipses the best of what the WHM has to offer. And, third, NaPro excludes any Women’s Health Movement proposals/practices that fail to realize health in either female patients or the culture. Background: Women’s Health Movement The Women’s Health Movement has its roots in the 1960s medical trend that reshaped the “paternalistic” standard of physician-patient relationship. Female...

FertilityCare Conference Gathers Physicians Who Do Not Prescribe Birth Control (7/04)

400 hundred medical professionals, all of whom refuse to prescribe birth control to teens, gathered at the twenty-third annual American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals conference, July 21-24, in Omaha, NE.   The health experts ranged from medical doctors to nurse practitioners and fertility counselors, a large percentage of whom are members of the Medical Abstinence Council or are affiliated with the Abstinence Clearinghouse. The conference, hosted by Dr. Hilgers, a member of the Medical Abstinence Council, featured the latest in NaPro Technology and fertility care.   NaPro Technology can be used to regulate births, assist infertile couples with conception, lower the risk of premature birth and miscarriage, and alleviate PMS symptoms for women. Many of the physicians registered to join the Abstinence Clearinghouse’s Medical Abstinence Council, the largest group worldwide of medical professionals committed to promoting abstinence to unmarried people. [Christina Espenscheid Abstinence Clearinghouse E-mail Update July 28,...

The Science of Natural Family Planning

For more information: visit the Natural Family Planning Research Database “…there is both interest in and misinformation about NFP today. We find people around the world dedicated to its promotion and development. The purpose of this article is to review the scientific findings which are the foundation of NFP with the expectation that…teachers of NFP will use this information to renew acquaintance with and commitment to NFP. We begin by reviewing the methods themselves and how well couples use them to time the births of their children. The effectiveness of NFP methods, when properly used, is equal or greater than that of barrier methods. We touch upon the shibboleth that the use of these methods may lead to birth defects or spontaneous abortions. The question of abstinence and reduced intimacy is examined and acknowledged. Finally, we examine the role of NFP in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Various Methods of NFP Most adult women in the world know that they can become pregnant for only a few days each month, generally about midcycle for women who are regular in their cycle. NFP is a body of knowledge based on naturally occurring signs and symptoms, that teaches women how to identify these days. The modern methods can identify the fertile time even in women who are irregular and amenorrheic. The Calendar Rhythm method is the original NFP method developed simultaneously in Japan and Germany in the 1930s. It is the method commonly associated with NFP but has an undeservedly bad reputation because couples neglect to use it properly. It is simple and does not require daily observations as do...

Divorce Rate Comparisons Between Couples Using Natural Family Planning & Artificial Birth Control

(Unofficial results) 1-4 March 2001 By Mercedes Arzú Wilson Introduction Everyone would agree that divorce is the greatest tragedy that can befall a family. Wouldn’t it be providential if the practice of natural family planning proves to be the authentic means to a successful marriage? Family of the Americas Foundation has just received the completed data collection of a study correlating marital happiness with the practice of Natural Family Planning (NFP). Since the early seventies, [Family of the Americas Foundation] has been conducting programs for couples that provide knowledge on the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s cycle… For years we have witnessed the benefits our programs have provided to families, not only in Christian countries, but also Moslem and even communist nations. Even though numerous scientific evaluations and statistical studies have confirmed its effectiveness, even superior to artificial birth control, we have never been able to validate the incredible benefits to the family that our teachers have been observing for many years. Last year a scientific survey was conducted under the direction of a reputable independent statistician, Dr. Robert Lerner. He is a Sociologist from the University of Chicago with a degree in Economics. The protocol stipulated that he would not only evaluate the findings, but also compare them to two of the largest U.S. government funded surveys that asked similar questions of the respondents. Summary Of Findings The results presented from the three surveys analyzed revealed that compared to other women in general and to Catholic women of similar age, NFP users: have a dramatically low (0.2%) divorce rate; experience happier marriages; are happier and more...

Contraceptives / Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Effectiveness / Studies "There is no doubt about it: some physicians are well informed about Natural Family Planning and they strongly encourage its use. Some are so convinced about the medical and moral hazards of unnatural forms of birth control that Natural Family Planning (NFP) is the only form of conception control they will offer to their patients. Natural Family Planning Research Database "However, the fact that some methods of NFP can be 99% effective in the avoidance of pregnancy seems unknown to most of the general public — including many health professionals. The fact that the fertility awareness which is a key element of modern NFP is also very helpful to couples of marginal fertility in seeking pregnancy is also unknown… "There are three basic reasons for widespread ignorance and prejudice regarding natural family planning. "First of all, many health care prefessionals are uninformed about the modern methods of natural family planning. Therefore, they group various natural methods that are entirely different together under the title of 'rhythm'… "Secondly, many people, including health care providers, are skeptical of anything natural. Their orientation is so much towards drugs, surgery, and devices that they find it difficult to believe that common, ordinary married couples can understand their mutual fertility well enough to achieve the same effectiveness associated with powerful drugs. "Thirdly, some organizations that specialize in or are oriented towards unnatural forms of birth control have been unfair in their treatment of NFP. Old rhythm studies from Latin America with low effectiveness rates are quoted and requoted, but a recent and well designed study by the U.S. federal government showing...

Forms of NFP (Natural Family Planning)

There are two basic forms of Natural Family Planning (NFP). The oldest form of NFP is ecological breastfeeding. It is still widely practiced in certain parts of the world, and it is making a comeback in the United States. The key factor of ecological breastfeeding is frequent suckling. It requires no fertility awareness nor periodic abstinence. The term “ecological breastfeeding” was developed to sharply distinguish this form of baby care from “cultural breastfeeding” which provides little or no natural infertility. The second form of Natural Family Planning is Systematic NFP and is based on daily fertility awareness. It can be used both to achieve and to avoid or postpone pregnancy. When used to avoid pregnancy, the basic “method” is abstinence from the marital embrace during the fertile time, which is mainly checked by daily basal temperature readings and secretions. For a much broader look at NFP, go to www.ccli.org, or visit these pages: The Effectiveness of the Creighton Model Ovulation Method in Avoiding and Achieving Pregnancy“Use Effectiveness of the Creighton Model Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning”; Fehring, Richard J.; Lawrence, D.; and Philpot, D., Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing Vol. 23, No. 4 . May 1994. pp. 303-309 Click here Natural Family Planning Research...

Advantages Of Natural Family Planning

Medically Safe Because NFP is 100% natural, there are no health risks. No potentially harmful drugs or devices. On the other hand, the Pill sometimes causes blood clots which can result in strokes, visual impairment, or death. According to Planned Parenthood figures, more American women die each year from the Pill than from the complications of pregnancy and childbirth (Making Choices, 1983). The Pill may act as an early abortion agent in some cases because its effect on the lining of the uterus prevents implantation. Increased Health Awareness Because NFP teaches you to become aware of your normal fertility pattern, changes in this pattern can alert you to medical problems. Effectiveness As mentioned earlier, the Sympto-Thermal Method of NFP is highly effective both for avoiding and achieving pregnancy. Low Cost NFP costs significantly less than other forms of birth control. Once you learn it, there are no continuing costs. More Satisfying Marriages Most couples report that NFP has a positive effect on their marriages. They find that periodic abstinence helps keep their sexual relationship fresh, improves their communication, and gives them a deeper respect for each other. Immediately Reversible You just change your timing. There’s no damage to your fertility from drugs and medical...

Natural Family Planning

Most adult women in the world know that they can become pregnant for only a few days each month, generally about midcycle for women who are regular in their cycle. NFP is a body of knowledge based on naturally occurring signs and symptoms, that teaches women how to identify these days. The modern methods can identify the fertile time even in women who are irregular and amenorrheic. Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the practice of avoiding or achieving pregnancy according to an informed awareness of a woman's fertility. It can also refer to the spacing of pregnancies through ecological breastfeeding. During each monthly cycle, a woman normally becomes fertile and then infertile. Her body provides certain signs to indicate her fertile and infertile times. Natural Family Planning's Sympto-Thermal method teaches how to observe and interpret these signs . . . enabling couples to achieve or avoid pregnancy naturally . . . by becoming aware of the woman's  natural metabolic fertility cycle. The Sympto-Thermal method is NOT Calendar Rhythm!  It was developed by leading obstetrician/gynecologists and further refined by the Couple to Couple League. With this method, a woman observes two or three fertility signs which occur naturally within her monthly cycle. As the signs are observed and recorded, her fertile and infertile times are determined. The two most commonly used signs of fertility are:     a woman's normal cervical mucus secretions and…     her waking temperature.  A third and optional sign is the physical change that occurs in her cervix. It takes just five minutes each morning for a woman to take her waking temperature. Then during the day she takes...