NFP methods - one of best kept secret in the world

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Anna - Mon, 02/06/2012 - 22:26

Why fertility recognition methods or NFP methods are still known only to initiated?

Some time ago, I was looking through a questionnaire about contraceptives methods among women, and I came across something that surprised me. Well, the same part of the study group, who decided to use hormonal birth control pills, confirmed that they know about NFP methods and their high efficiency. So what was the reason they have not chosen the natural methods? In the same study I found an answer. I will share it later in the text.

Difficulty of learning the interpretation of the fertility symptoms and applying the rules for determining fertile and infertile days is given as disincentive to use NFP methods. Some people even claim that NFP users are like a NASA scientists… because they ever observing, analyzing, calculating, interpreting unusual situations, etc. But we learn a lot more difficult skills, and knowledge of our fertility will be useful not only in the here and now, but also in other moments of our lives in the future.

A problem may appear to find a reliable source from which you can learn fertility recognize methods. Institutes and Associations involved in the NFP methods typically offer courses for users, but for many people this seems to be too cumbersome and time consuming. The promoters of NFP methods come out the expectations of people and enable learning via Internet in the form of home courses and Web sites that contain convenient applications for recording and analyzing observations of fertility symptoms, and lately even mobile phone applications.

One of most widespread but false belief is low effectiveness of NFP methods in avoiding pregnancy. What is the basis for that opinion? Certainly not on the medical facts, because the effectiveness of for example Rötzer’s method, confirmed by years of research, is 99.8% in the preovulatory phase, and 100% in the postovulatory phase. The effectiveness of hormonal contraception is 97%-99.8% - depending on chosen method (according PTG, WHO and J. Guillebaud).

Wrong opinion about low effectiveness of fertility recognition methods is mainly due to:

  • Treatment the primary calendar method as one of NFP methods. It is not true because fertility recognition methods does not rely on general calculations, but rely on personal observation of current fertility symptoms, which change during the given menstrual cycle of each woman,
  • Not taking into account new researches on effectiveness of NFP methods, and giving faith unreliable information, especially from sources that promote contraception,
  • Poorly-educated users of NFP methods, who conduct observations deceptively or do not apply to the interpretation rules.

Another reason for the unpopularity of natural methods of fertility recognition is a little knowledge of physiology in both women and men, and little awareness of their own body in women - they frequently treats as disease and cures natural physiological symptoms of fertility. Numerous questions on various web site forums like “Can I be pregnant?” or “Could my girl get pregnant?” reassured me in this opinion.

The least debatable issue is a difficulty of periodic sexual abstinence, because it is actually needed during the fertile days. The ability to cope with short-term abstinence may be useful in your life, especially when your partner is in hospital, sick, when there is pregnancy at risk or postpartum period, when you are in a temporary separation, or in case of period absence of  your partner. The ability of periodic sexual abstinence helps to refresh the relationship, and in a long run to prevent routine and tiredness of relation between woman and man.

Why do so many women prefer to use hormonal contraceptives? The reason (mentioned in the questionnaire described at the beginning of the text) why women chose birth control pills was CONVENIENCE.  All you have to do is to swallow the pill, the rest will do itself. No need to wonder whether the day is fertile or infertile, because there are no fertile days during hormonal contraception. But this is not quite as convenient method because:

  • When you use birth control pills, you need to avoid many medicines, herbs, juices and substances that affect the metabolism of the digestive system, so any cold, illness, or even diet can be “an inconvenience”,
  •  Malabsorption e.g. vomiting or diarrhea, significantly undermine the effectiveness of pills and another dose of hormones is needed. Then comes an avalanche of doubt, usage of additional mechanical method of contraception, and often… “emergency pill” too,
  • Birth control pills must be taken promptly and in case of delays, it is necessary to use additional contraceptive method,
  • Frequently occurring “inconvenience” is the appearance of long-term bleeding and spotting, various pains, nausea, mood swings, decreased libido and recurrent inflammation. Is it convenience of use?

Another reason for the popularity of hormonal contraceptives is confidence in their effectiveness and safety, and yet two-component tablets are as effective as NFP methods, and the effectiveness of other contraceptives tend to be far lower. That users trust, however, is not complete, because a very common practice is… a combined use of hormonal contraceptives together with barrier methods.

The choice of hormonal contraception is associated with ignorance of its mechanisms of action, which is caused by relatively terse description of their actions  in the leaflet.  Not every user know what exactly means “impairment of the endometrium” or “effect on the motility of the fallopian tubes” (which means that if it happens to be fertilized, the embryo is not possible to properly implant in the uterus).

The list of harmful and annoying side effects of the use of hormonal contraceptive is really very long and you need to be aware, that it really relates to a substantial part of its users. On various web site forums there are many confirmed cases of thrombosis and embolism, caused by taking birth control pills. Women sympathize with each other, encourage to examine themselves and… go on taking artificial hormones, because “This does not concern me”, “It does not happen to me”.

Just look at an example leaflet of a birth control pills – neutral information about the composition of the preparation, the mechanism of action and the dosage are market in green, and marked in red are: warnings, adverse reactions and negative side effects – maybe this image will persuade us to consider learning one of NFP methods…

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