Prior to our marriage, my veterinarian fiancé and I discussed at
length the future of our family. As practicing Catholics, and professionals
with scientific backgrounds, we looked hard at ways of family planning
that squared both with our faith and our professions. I want to first
point out, that as a family practice physician, I make no judgments about
the various methods of family planning, nor push patients toward one or
another. For my wife and me, natural family planning was just the method we
chose. It's not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a natural
method, that can also help with other gynecological issues, I wanted to
share our experience.
There are different methods for Natural Family Planning (NFP) and natural
procreative technology. You may have heard your mother or grandmother
mention the "rhythm or calendar" method. It was created in the
1930s, for women to chart out their periods on a calendar and determine
fertile days using simple math.
Since then, controlling fertility naturally has become more scientifically
based and combines a collection of methods using your body’s natural
functioning to determine the days of the month you are most likely to
get pregnant. It's referred to as "fertility awareness"
or Natural Family Planning (NFP).
My wife and I opted for The Creighton Model. It is a collaborative effort
between a practitioner (who teaches the patient how to recognize the signs)
and a NaProtechnology medical consultant like myself. It involved working
with a practitioner and learning how to chart events that occur relative
to the changes in the cervical mucus as ovulation approaches. For my wife
and me, it allowed us to have our daughters (now five years old and 1
year old) when the time was right.
creightonmodel.com uses this description:
The CrMS (Creighton Model) relies upon the standardized observation and
charting of biological markers that are essential to a woman's health
and fertility. These 'biomarkers" tell the couple when they are
naturally fertile and infertile, allowing the couple to use the system
either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy. These biomarkers also telegraph
abnormalities in a woman's health. The CrMS allows a woman to unravel
the mysteries of the menstrual cycle.
For my patients who use this method, I can use the data from those charts
to help with a number of health issues facing women, including:
- Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Post-Partum Depression
- Ovarian Cysts
- Repetitive Miscarriages
Again, NFP may not be for everyone. It may be a good option for women who
have risky conditions and for those who can dedicate themselves (and partners)
to their plan. The Creighton Model has been shown to be as effective,
if not more than, some forms of medical contraception - if followed properly.
It can also be used to help achieve pregnancy. The key, like most systems
is a commitment to and understanding of the principles behind the method.
You can learn much more about it by visiting creightonmodel.com or
fertilitycarekc.com. Talk with your doctor and consider options best for you.
Dr. DeMarco is in Family Practice with Family Medical Care Associates on
the St. Mary’s Medical Center campus. Schedule appointments by calling