By Olivia McDonough
Is your hormonal birth control making you moody or nauseous? Is it causing weight gain? Are you looking for a safe, inexpensive, natural alternative to contraceptives for spacing your children? Perhaps you have heard of NFP, but have been put off by a lack of available information or common misconceptions. Discover the truth about 5 common NFP myths.
MYTH 1: The only forms of Natural Family Planning are the “calendar method” or the “pull-out” method.
One common misunderstanding about NFP is that it is an archaic, ineffective means of avoiding pregnancy. Many believe that it involves nothing more than estimating fertility based on the day of the month. This idea dates all the way back to the 1930’s “Rhythm Method,” which was a very early form of NFP. Factsaboutfertility.org provides a more comprehensive definition, highlighting the fact that modern methods rely on observations that give evidence about objective changes during a woman’s cycle:
“. . . a woman observes external signs that reflect underlying hormonal changes and combines it with an effective set of instructions to help identify times of a woman’s cycle when pregnancy can and cannot occur. Using this information, couples may time sexual intercourse according to their desire to achieve or avoid a pregnancy.”
MYTH 2: Natural Family Planning is not effective.
This myth has long been upheld due to a misleading information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). According to the Couple to Couple League, “Formerly, the CDC cited a methodologically-flawed study which unfairly grouped FABMs with other “natural” methods, including lack of any method at all and the only-occasionally-reliable Rhythm Method. This led the organization to claim a “natural methods” failure rate of 24 percent.” However, the site has been updated with more specific numbers, and reports that some NFP methods are 98% effective (more effective than hormonal methods including pills, the ring, patches, and injections.)
MYTH 3: Using a natural method will be bad for my relationship.
Our trusty friends at factsaboutfertility have information on this too! They report that “surveys of persons using these methods often show that couples have more satisfying sex lives, improved relationships, and feel more respected by their partners and in control of their fertility.” If anything, NFP can help your relationship.
MYTH 4: Charting is too complicated.
Again, according to FACTS, women with “low health literacy” are able to effectively use NFP.
“The World Health Organization conducted a multi-continent study including many uneducated women and found that 94% of the women taught NFP were able to identify their fertile symptoms correctly on the first cycle.” In other words, regardless of education or other factors, NFP can be learned quickly with proper instruction.
MYTH 5: Women with irregular cycles cannot use NFP.
It can be disconcerting to hear that NFP is only for women with perfect cycles. According to this medically- reviewed article, over 30% of women have irregular periods. Luckily, this does not disqualify a woman from NFP. According to FACTS, “It should be noted that most modern methods provide information in “real time.” They are based upon a woman’s day-to-day observations where she can make decisions about her fertility based upon those observations.” This means that even women with irregular cycles can use most natural methods!
Need more information?
Don’t forget, you can always call the Front Royal Pregnancy Center, we will be happy to give you information on ALL your options. (540) 635-6181