Doctor Wants My Wife On The Pill


My dear wife reported that her doctor has STRONGLY encouraged her to go on the pill (again). The doctor has indicated that for her to become pregnant again would be very risky.

I would rather live as Joseph and Mary did, than to see her on the pill. I would be willing to practice the most stringent form of NFP, and I believe she would too, however, she believes it would be too hard to learn and her doctor doesn’t believe it works. Her doctor’s complete lack of confidence in NFP and total confidence in the pill is ‘rubbing-off’ on her. The good doctor quipped at her last visit, “You know what they call couples who use the rythm method…parents.”

We can’t just dump the doctor. This doctor’s specialty is hard to find and she’s about the best, in this town. The way I see it, we’ve got these options.

  1. Follow the doctors advise and go on the pill. It’s easy and about $30 a month, and gets the job done. It may cause side-effects. It’s also against what our Church teaches us, and I believe, abortive and offends God, but one can point to the ‘medically necessary’ loophole so often cited.

  2. Get really good at NFP. It’s free, non-abortive, unitive, healthful, causes no side-effects, is approved by the Church and doesn’t offend God. It’s reported to be good for the marriage. It can be time consuming to master and is generally unsupported by the medical community. There are many who say, "It just doesn’t work as ‘good’ as the pill.

  3. Do nothing. Don’t go on the pill, don’t practice NFP and don’t live as Joseph and Mary. There is no specifically identified risk, just and increased ‘general’ risk, due to a certain diagnosis. All pregnancy is risky, some more than others. Continue marital relations as normal and put it in God’s hands.

  4. Live as Joseph and Mary. Discontinue marital relations. There’s no physical risk, no physical side effects, it’s free, doesn’t violate Church teaching or offend God, if mutually agreed upon. Good for the short term, but probably very challenging and difficult longer-term.

So what do ya-all think? I’d like to hear your comments and advise.


Perhaps you could ask your wife to take some NFP classes that way she could make a more informed decision. You both can hold off your final decision until after you take the classes.


Does the Dr. understand that you wouldn’t be using the “rythm method”? Do you have an NFP OB GYN in your area? I’m not saying switch doctors but just to go in and talk over the options with a doctor that’s on the side of your marriage and God.


Well I’m in the same postion as your wife and I’ve used NFP sucessfully for 10 years. Take a class, get information for the Dr. from CCL. Most doctors really don’t understand NFP. I have a friend who got pregnant on the pill, to me that is scarier than NFP. I can tell when I ovulate.

My regular dr. knows I use NFP but my cardiologists (both here and at Mayo Clinic) do not. The one here in MI never asked and the one at Mayo I was intentionally vague with because I don’t want to deal with exactly what you are dealing with.

You can live as Mary and Joseph while taking the class and charting maybe several months until your wife is confident that NFP works.


No, I’m sure the good doctor is clueless about NFP and OB isn’t her specialty. She simply explained to my wife “I know you’re Catholic but you really shouldn’t get pregnant, again, and I want you on birth control.” MD’s only have 8 minutes allotted to visit with a patient, so there’s no time to try to educate and MD, who wouldn’t learn from a patient, anyway.

She’s got a terrific high-risk OB/GYN who would likely say, “Well, if you get pregnant again, we’ll just deal with it.”


Last I heard, the Pill fails as often as does strict NFP. Taking the Pill wouldn’t be a 100% guarantee that pregnancy would be avoided. Your wife is blessed to have a husband who is willing to live like Joseph and Mary rather than put her health (and soul) on the line by taking hormonal contraceptives.

I would see if I could find a pamphlet or something similar on the effectiveness of NFP and give it to the doctor. She’s obviously very uninformed about it. The Couple to Couple League might have something specifically for healthcare providers.

As for your wife’s lack of confidence in NFP, maybe you could live as Mary and Joseph for a few months while you take classes and she learns her signs. She can chart a couple of cycles and then you can resume marital relations when she feels comfortable with what she’s observing/charting.


Couple to Couple League publishes a lot of pamphlets about NFP. There are a couple specific to explaining NFP to doctors. This might help inform your doctor as well as you and your wife.

Good luck and God bless.



I was on the pill, doctor’s orders for 2 years … trust me it only messes things up. At that time, I confessed and was told by the priest since I was using it for health reasons (heavy bleeding, fibroid…) it was OK. The next time around I would not go on the pill and decided to just deal with the consequences. We have been using the Creighton Model ( of course we are trying to achieve a pregnancy, but we had to avoid for the last 6 months and for another 2 while my uterus heals … had a abdominal myomectomy in November)

About doctors…my OB/GYN, great surgeon (did my c-section 7.5years ago and myomectomy in November, but she did not trust the Creighton method …always insisted on calling it the rhythm method:( so much so that right before my surgery she made me get a pregnancy test since she did not trust what I was using to avoid pregnancy. I took my charts and information from my NFP doctor to her, but she was just not interested in looking at them. Well, I am on the look out for a new OB/GYN.

My recommendation would be to learn NFP and use it.


God be with you . This is a difficult challenge.Pray Pray Pray! Alone and with your wife. Especially pray to St. Joseph to guide you to make the right decision for your family.

I don’t mean to belittle you wifes physical issues but “if I had a dime for every woman who was told don’t get pregnant again and put on the pill”… I get the impression at this stage it is not a death defying risk.

You need to get your spiritual spine upright and I think you know this. You are the spiritual leader in your marriage. It’s part of the sacrament of marriage. You laid out the problem very well as far as what is the popular thinking.
With regard to number 1. I’d like to point out to you that many moral theologians do not think the abortions that might occur as a result of taking birth control pill and continuing marital relations are done with a free pass. You could still be responsible for killing your children. The remark in Humanae Vitae does not give any indication that marital relations continue . It only indicates that if birth control pills are necessary to treat a specific medical condition they may be used. You don’t say if your wife if the BCP are being prescribed to treat a specific medical condition. The preventing pregnancy because of risk never fit the medically necessary definition is what I am tyring to say. I need to also point out to you that medicine has progressed since the HV was written and most of those illness that he pill were prescribed for have other more accurate treatments now . In general the pill does not treat an illness but controls and covers symptoms.

I think you should educate yourself as much as possible about all the forms of NFP and find one that you and your wife can feel confident in. You should be willing to participate in the process as much as possible.You can fill in the chart , hand her the thermometer or even more if you and she are comfortable with that. I don’t think it is right to blow off NFP as an option without attempting to live it first.

If your wife indeed is suffering from a gynelogical problem then you should really seek out other medical help. I get the impression that it isn’t though. If the high risk doctor isn’t the emphatically warning against pregancy that says something about the situation here.

If your wife’s life will truly be threatened by a pregancy you may consider the heroic virtue of living as brother and sister as you indicated as one of your options. Doesn’t seem like you are there yet. Get researching.

I’ll be praying for you and all couples in this predicament.


I’m not sure from your post if your wife has a gynecological problem that would indicate her going on the pill or as you say it is purely to prevent pregnancy because of risk.

I was put on the pill for irregular periods and let me tell you it did more harm than good. I dealt with debilitating migraines where I would be throwing up at work regularly and every month I would have a few days at home unable to do anything. Coming off the pill the side effects were worse. My cycles were all over the place. I won’t go into detail. In addition the dangers of taking the pill are far riskier than any condition. The pill increases the risk for blood clots, stroke, breast cancer many times - and those are just a few. I strongly advise against the pill just for health reasons alone, putting aside my moral objections.

NFP is extremely effective when applied properly, 100% followed. We used it to prevent pregancy at first but then were able to use it achieve pregnancy despite many infertility issues that I developed (partly due to the pill).

Doctors today do not always know what is best for you. Consider going to an introductory session with the Creighton model. They are highly reliable and effective and will show you many studies that have been done.

You are in my prayers.


The brochure several of us have pointed you to is the third from the top, I believe.


You might find these helpful as well.

There’s tons more out there. Strange considering all so many medical experts clearly think it doesn’t work! :wink:


I will pray to God so you two don’t surrender to what the Doctor says… It’d be sad to see a couple fall into those practices…
So what if it only costs $30 a month and gets the job done? It’ll be WAY more expensive for your soul in the long run… Is not like you don’t know your Faith and doing it on full ignorance.

I say go for NFP, it’s the choice that won’t go against God’s will since you’re doing it for health.

Most of all, the doctor CAN’T force your wife to get on the pill, she has to respect your wife’s beliefs!
So tell her in the best way possible to stop putting this type of pressure in both of you (specially to stop making rude jokes to put more pressure on you), and to please try to work with you two on the NFP.


You know, in the doctor’s office, YOU are the one paying for HER services!!! You are the patient, yes, but also the customer. You need to let the Dr know that the PILL is not an option and to STOP denigrating your religious choices.

Then you and your wife need to learn NFP–IF her condition truly merits such avoidance. I would also suggest a second or third opinion–preferably from an NFP/Prolife friendly dr. Often Dr’s are quick to tell you more babies are riskier than they actually are–they have to deal with malpractice insurance after all, and reducing any risk to THEM is their goal.

There are several varieties of NFP: symptothermal method mucous only mucous method–medical model
and I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting. Check you local Diocese and see what’s offered. Also, has a list of NFP dr.s and teachers for your area and additionally info about how the pill works and why it’s not a good choice.

Hope that helps. God bless you as you both work through this issue.

mom to 1 ds and 4 dd’s with blessing #6 due in July (all wanted, all expected, all loved)


Two comments:

Why would you consider your wife’s Doctor’s advice on a matter that is not medical advice but “personal/spiritual” advice?

I’ve never seen anywhere that there is such a loophole. One may take the medication where the intended result/effect is to solve a medical problem. However, in this case, the intended result/effect is the prevention of pregnancy which is always prohibited.


My one friend, C has two “pill” babies, and my other friend has 1.
NFP to avoid is reassuringly effective.Plus you and your wife are much more in control than trusting the word of a pharmacutical company.


The pill, even when taken exactly as directed, is no more effective than correctly adhered to NFP.

I was on the pill for health reasons in my late twenties. I am a nurse, took it EXACTLY as directed. Introducing my seven year old daughter, conceived while on the pill.

Thank God she has no defects from it, but even more so, Thank God He gave her to me, despite my own ignorance.

The CCL is an EXCELLENT place to go to for NFP training. I would strongly suggest learning about that before making any decisions.

God bless and good luck!




I don’t think I would be so kind to the “good” doc. I would be understanding if they appeared ignorant of NFP. However, at the least bit indication that they were recalcitrant - I would let them know who was paying whose salary.

It’s stories like that have caused me to drop the term medical “care”. I now use medical service. The respectability of their profession is dropping like a lead balloon.

“…would you like a Pill with that order?”



I am a convert, and I can tell you that 3 of my 4 children were conceived while taking birthcontrol pills. Of those 3 pregnancies, only 1 occurred when I missed taking a pill. The other two happened while taking the pill exactly as prescribed. I think your wife’s doctor has too much faith in birth control pills.

I think your wife will be much safer really learning how to understand and respect her body and trusting God. Good for you for encouraging her to do just that.


I voted “get really good at NFP,” but not knowing how serious your wife’s medical condition, I can’t say for sure that “living as mary and joseph” is the wrong choice.

As for the medical loophole: I think you are referring to the use of the pill to rectify a medical problem the woman is having. The use of the pill has to be an actual treatment for a problem, and the resulting infertility has to be the side effect. Even within this “loophole”, using the pill primarily to avoid pregnancy is still not allowed. So based on what I think you’ve explained, from the standpoint of the Church, the pill is not a moral option for you.

God Bless you and your wife!

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