What can NFP do?
Natural Family Planning is an invaluable resource for single women, married couples and doctors seeking to better treat their female patients. Fertility Awareness Based methods can be employed not only to postpone or achieve pregnancy, but to help diagnose and treat a host of reproductive issues as well. It is also a healthy alternative to many popular contraceptive methods in use today.
Natural Family Planning methods are an effective way to postpone pregnancy. Efficacy rates vary by method, but they rival or exceed the effectiveness of many popular hormonal contraceptive methods. See the efficacy studies below.
Until 2018, the Centers for Disease Control published a failure rate for Fertility Awareness based methods of 24% which likely dissuaded many physicians from recommending FABMs to their patients. This poor figure originates from two surveys done between 1995 and 2002 in which women were asked to recall what method of family planning they depended on during their reproductive years and whether they had had an unplanned pregnancy. Many methods of fertility awareness, including unreliable ones such as the rhythm method were lumped together to yield the 24% failure rate. In 2018, the CDC updated their reporting reflecting a range of efficacy rates for the many available methods. This range is 2%-23% indicating that effective methods do exist for couples to rely on. Read more about the CDC change here.
Methods of NFP are also effective in helping the couple achieve pregnancy. Learning a FABM is an effective and much less expensive alternative to In Vitro Fertilization. It should also be stated that IVF is not morally permissible by the Catholic Church. When a couple learns to use a FABM, they can use the woman’s chart to pinpoint the days of peak fertility. Many couples trying to achieve pregnancy do so after only a few cycles as the chart below demonstrates. Click on the image to view the entire study from which it came.
If true health factors are an obstacle to a couple’s achieving pregnancy, a competent physician can often diagnose and treat the condition using the woman’s chart data helping them achieve pregnancy (See Diagnostic and Treatment Tool below).
Increasingly, the Pill is being used to treat conditions that are not related to women's gynecological health at all. But is this safe? The World Health Organization classifies the Pill as a class 1 carcinogen. This means that the Pill (when using a combined synthetic estrogen and progesterone) is known to increase the chance of certain cancers in women. The Mayo Clinic positively links the use of oral contraceptives with an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer. Similarly, the Mini-Pill (synthetic progesterone only) is classified as a class 2B carcinogen,meaning that it is possibly carcinogenic to humans. In a world where people are questioning the health effects of food dyes, various additives, and commonly prescribed medications, it makes no sense to simply accept a known carcinogenic substance as routine “health care” when there is an equally effective, healthier option.
Read the 2017 New England Journal of Medicine study below:
Diagnostic and Treatment Tool
In the engaging video below, Dr. Christopher Stroud, OB-GYN, explains how charted fertility data can be a valuable diagnostic tool. (The whole video is good, but begin at 26:25 for the diagnostic part)