Contraception / Definite risk of death to mom if she gets pregnant

I realize this is probably a tired and overdone theme and question. But I’m not finding what I need to find, hopefully you can help out.

I have searched the forums and the answer to this question is multisided and I haven’t seen any references to Catholic documents about it.

Situation (true / my situation / not theoretical):

25 year old mom will probably die if she gets pregnant again b/c of some kidney issues. She also will probably miscarry if she gets pregnant again.

We have 5 kids already (yay!) and we are practicing Catholics / married for 8.5 years now.

Last pregnancy nearly killed her b/c of kidney issues related to the pregnancy and the drugs she had to take to stop pre-term labor. We don’t know if it was the drugs that caused the kidney problems or not (its a ridiculously high dose of some blood pressure medication that they gave her to stop labor). Anyway, if she gets pregnant again before maybe 2-3 years, there are some serious risks.

NFP? Certainly possible, but not worth the risks b/c of her health. 5 kids in 8.5 years is rough on a body.

The catechism indicates that sex is for 2 things - union with the spouse and for making babies. I seem to recall some teaching about this special case though. We’v been celibate for a WHILE now since the last birth.

I don’t even trust priest’s opinions on this b/c there are a wide range of opinions.

She’s ready to go get the depo shot but i’m still on the fence about it. Is there any reference to go to for an answer to this question? Something official?

Contraception, the physical or chemical interference with the fertilitiy of the conjugal act, is always and everywhere immoral.

[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]2399 The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception).


There is an extremely conservative form of NFP, which makes use of the time after ovulation had already occurred and before the first day of menstruation (phase III). It is very effective for preventing pregnancy, and there are some people here at CAF who follow this method precisely because of life-threatening considerations such as the ones you describe. And it is an acceptable method for preventing pregnancy, whereas the Depo shot and all other forms of contraception are not morally acceptable.

I am sorry for your challenges. It sounds very difficult and frightening.

P.S. I noticed you mentioned the age of the wife, as well as the years married. Am I correct in assuming you married (when the bride was) at age 16 or 17? If so, that is a rather unique situation. I was not aware marriage was legal or permissible by the Church before age 18.

No 18 is not the age.

Such is yes valid. In some places the Conference of Bishops may set a higher age for licit-ness.

How difficult! Know that Jesus is with you in your following him and in carrying such a cross.

Important to note: Contact the Paul VI institute…

As noted contraception is never an option. Such is intrinsically immoral. One may only choose good means.

Compendium issued by Pope Benedict XVI

  1. What are immoral means of birth control?


Every action - for example, direct sterilization or contraception - is intrinsically immoral which (either in anticipation of the conjugal act, in its accomplishment or in the development of its natural consequences) proposes, as an end or as a means, to hinder procreation.

  1. Why are artificial insemination and artificial fertilization immoral?


They are immoral because they dissociate procreation from the act with which the spouses give themselves to each other and so introduce the domination of technology over the origin and destiny of the human person. Furthermore, heterologous insemination and fertilization with the use of techniques that involve a person other than the married couple infringe upon the right of a child to be born of a father and mother known to him, bound to each other by marriage and having the exclusive right to become parents only through each another.

That is very interesting. Thanks. I myself married quite young, still a teen, but not as young as this couple. :slight_smile:

I am very sorry to hear about your serious kidney issues.

There are many people who have serious reasons (i.e. life threatening) who use NFP. NFP through periodic abstinence or complete abstinence are the choices.

I suggest posters Rayne89 and Crohnie4Life who both have used NFP for almost 2 decades to avoid pregnancy due to life threatening medical conditions.

No, there is no such thing as a “special case”. All intercourse must be objectively unitive and procreative.

Contraception and sterilization are both intrinsic evils.

That would be a grave sin against the sixth commandment.

The Catechism tells us what we need to know, along with the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Complete or periodic abstinence are the options. There are many NFP methods that can give you some days of intimacy using conservative, post-ovulatory days. Marquette Model NFP employs a fertility monitor, for example.

I love it when ppl do that math. When we were married, yes it was legal. No, you can’t get marired when the bride is 17 anymore. The rule on marriage is that it has to be legal inthe laws of the recognized government at the time of the marriage. She was 17 when we married, yes it was legal, yes it was in the “united” states. We were the 2nd to last people to get married in Georgia under those laws.

Well, congratulations on finding each other so early in life. Speaking from experience, it is quite a blessing to meet one’s mate so early in life. Many of my family members and friends are envious of my husband and me in that. We were high school sweethearts. :slight_smile:

Not sure where you got the idea that the Church does not permit marriage under the age of 18. From canon law:

Can.* 1083 §1. A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.

§2. The conference of bishops is free to establish a higher age for the licit celebration of marriage.

Thank you to all posters about the catechismal reference. 8) That’s more what I thought. Look like we will be staying the course. 8)

I did not “get the idea”, I said I was not aware. And I merely asked out of curiosity, because, as I already said, I was a teen bride, and it is very rare that I ever encounter another couple who married as young or younger than me. And I surely cannot be expected to memorize Canon law. :eek:

To the OP: sorry to derail your thread. Your questions were very important and I had no idea my postscript would distract so much from the crux of the issue. Please forgive me for that. I merely was surprised and interested that you were such a young couple. God bless you!

There’s much more to the story. :wink: But americans are quite damning when they find out someone over 18 married someone 17. This isn’t the place for that very, very tired discussion we have to have everytime one of our friends does some math.

Now, this is not the answer that most would agree with, but just were I do sometimes struggle with opposition to the use of contraception.

I live by the teachings of the Church, but as I am single the issue of contraception is not a problem too me. However, whenever I hear of a situation like this one I wonder how it can be opposed.

All I can suggest is of course NFP and as much abstinence as can be accomplished.

I second that it wouldn’t hurt looking into the Pope Paul VI Institute. Don’t know if they would be able to help your wife, but it doesn’t hurt to investigate.

(my highlight there)

Because such is intrinsically immoral. Contrary to the nature of the marital act. One cannot do an evil for a good.

One must choose good means - as you later note.

A very good link. 8)


Don’t have sex, at all. Ever. If she really is risking death if she gets pregnant she ought to abstain from all sexual activity. I know that sounds radical to post 1960’s Americans, but she won’t die from not having sex, and might from having it. Using contraception will result in mortal sin, which kills the soul (and thus is worse than physical death), but abstaining from all sexual activity is morally licit. Remember, we are not obligated to have sex, even if we are married, especially if it might lead to death.

Can I just mention the elephant in the room here:
there is no firm of chemical or barrier contraception that gives 100%“protection”

The vast majority of the 250,000 abortions carried out in the UK each year are for women who were already using some firm of contraception.
Further if your wife has kidney problems why would you possibly want her to take a drug that is the female equivalent of what anabolic steroids are to the male body?
Chemical contraception is a dangerous class of drugs.
If she took the deposit shot and reacted badly she would have no way to remove the effect until the drug ran is course. At least with a daily pill she could stop immediately if she had bad side effects.

The ultra Conservative method of NFP as described above is the most effective for of preventing pregnancy in marriage other than total abstinence or hysterectomy/castration.

On a point of semantics the word celibate refers to the state of committed non married life.
The word chaste refers to keeping you mind and body pure so for a single pression that means abstinence in thought word and deed. For a married person it means being pure loving and self sacrificing in your attitude to each other and to sex.

The word abstain means to refrain from some act which may or may not be inherently good.

believe me I know what is like to have to abstain from the marital embrace for over a year.

We’re now deciding when to try for our no. 3 but due to my wife’s health we’re having to postpone for now which is sad as we had originally planned to be trying around now. As we didn’t meet and marry young decisions now will determine the size of our family as the clock is ticking.

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