Friday, July 26, 2013

Quick Takes: Volume 75 NFP Edition

In honor of NFP Awareness Week I give you 7 Quick Takes on NFP.

If you're scratching your head and wondering what NFP stands for, it's Natural Family Planning.  Basically you track your fertility cycle and use the information you record to avoid or achieve a pregnancy.  And, no, it's not the rhythm method.  There are several different methods of NFP.  We use the Sympto-thermal method because I like how I can cross check symptoms and temperature to better assess my fertility.

Does it really work for postponing pregnancy?  Lots of people out there, including some medical professionals, would have you believe that people who use NFP have a gazillion babies, because...well....don't they?  I know that was my perception of NFP for several years.  Then I researched the subject and realized it had lower failure rate (when you follow the rules) than artificial birth control.  So really, for a couple that is determined to follow the rules of the NFP method they're using to avoid a pregnancy, they have a slimmer chance of conceiving than say a couple using an IUD or hormonal birth control.


If you're skeptical about using NFP to delay a pregnancy, I have to tell you that it really does require a leap of faith to abandon artificial birth control.  I can tell you that I felt like I was stepping off a cliff when we ditched birth control.  Then as I became more comfortable with charting my cycles and interpreting them, I realized that using NFP is such a liberating experience.


You want to know something that is awesome about NFP?  There are no side effects or health risks associated with using it.  With hormonal birth control you run the risk of massive mood swings, blood clots, strokes, and a whole host of other undesirable side effects.  And let's not forget that birth-control pill are a class 1 carcinogen.  Not sure about you, but I'm not interested in increasing my risk factor for cancer.


Oh, I could tell you stories about an IUD!  And honestly, I so wish that I couldn't.  Let me assure you that NFP is an infinitely better choice. Just like hormonal birth control, an IUD also brings with it a host of side effects and risks.  I kid you not when I tell you there's a booklet that lists a lot of really unpleasant potential side effects.  Among them, and repeated many times is "perforation of uterus."  What they don't tell you is placement hurts badly enough to make you see stars, and expulsion of the device is almost as bad.


One of the things I like best about NFP is we decide whether or not we're going to throw caution to the wind and possibly add on to the family.  If you're contracepting, you're really not in control even though you may be operating under the illusion that you are.  In using NFP and being aware of my fertility, we know when we're taking a chance.  You simply don't have that awareness when you're using birth control.

Now I'm not going to tell you that everything is all sunshine and roses with NFP.  It can be a challenge during the postpartum months and while you're breastfeeding.  And there are plenty of times where abstaining is a royal pain in the rear, but on the whole, I've find using NFP to be a worthwhile experience.  I only wish we had considered using it right from the start of our marriage.  I am convinced that the use of contraceptives is detrimental not only to your health but also to good communication.  If there's one thing you need when using NFP, it's good communication.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff here.... very concise but extremely effective, I think. Thanks! :)


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