NFP and using the Pill for medical reasons


I have seen on multiple threads people posting that they use NFP while on the Pill for medical reasons in order to avoid the abortifacient risks. While I myself am not on the pill at all, I am still extremely curious to know how that works. I would have thought that the Pill would make it difficult, if not impossible to do this. It seems like a great way to reconcile medical necessity and moral concience.

Please, if you know more than I do, post about it and satisfy my curiosity! :slight_smile: I can’t be the only one who wants to know!


The Pill is designed to interfere with several normal functions of fertility in order to make a woman 1) unable to conceive due to temporary sterility or sperm immobility, and/or 2) unable to carry a pregnancy to term (an early abortion).

The combination pill usually interrupts the release pituitary hormones resulting in no egg being released from the ovary, which prevents pregnancy from occurring. The progestin-only pill, however, has a weaker effect. It generally does not suppress ovulation.

[size=2]Progestins lower the efficiency with which the fallopian tubes propel eggs from the ovaries toward the uterus. This can cause the embryo not to reach the uterus in time to implant successfully. After an ovary releases an egg, the woman’s cycle is controlled by the corpus luteum which normally functions long enough to give an embryo time to implant in the uterus and for the placenta to begin to support the pregnancy. However, hormones from the Pill can cause the corpus luteum to function inadequately, allowing the lining of the uterus to be shed before the embryo can successfully implant.

[size=2]There is no way to know if pregnancy was prevented by preventing ovulation or by impeding a newly conceived embryo. You could argue the chances of the latter are small, ovulation occurs in 2% to 10% of cycles of women taking the Pill. If 60 million women worldwide are on the low-dose Pill, there would be 1.2 to 6 million ovulations per cycle. This is known as breakthrough ovulation, and it is even more frequent with the progestin-only Pill.

[size=2]How come the abortifacient factor isn’t well known to the general public? The Pill manufacturers and many in organized medicine are mainly concerned about the Pill’s medical side effects and its effectiveness in preventing pregnancies and are less concerned about how the drug achieves its effectiveness. Pro-abortion organizations and their lawyers readily admit the early abortion potential of the Pill. In February 1992, writing in opposition to a Louisiana law banning abortion, Ruth Colker, a Tulane Law School professor, wrote, “Because nearly all birth control devices, except the diaphragm and condom, operate between the time of conception…and implantation…, the statute would appear to ban most contraceptives.”

(The above is a post I made on another forum a few years ago -I saved it for reference. Hope this helps.)


I don’t think it’s possible to use the pill and NFP at the same time. The pill takes away all signs of fertility. Infact when I came off the pill many years ago (when I became Catholic), it took many months for my fertility signs to return to normal. My temps were all over the place and mucous was at first, not there, and then hard to follow. The pill uses hormones to trick a woman’s body into thinking she’s pregnant all the time, so it makes sense that there would be no fertility cycles and thus no fertility signs. What the people may mean is they do a rhythm method type of counting of days, since the pill “regulates” (ie, your ‘cycle’ is 28 days, in that there is hormonal withdrawal bleeding every 21 days–the 7 days of placebo pills cause this bleeding and it’s not a real cycle or a real menstral period) so they figure day 14 is ovulation and they would abstain then. There’s no guarantee that that actually happens, since it’s all caused by the hormones in the pill and every woman reacts differently to them. Most people don’t understand the woman’s cycle and don’t understand how the pill works. It is complicated, but not impossible to understand the mechanics of it all, though.



It is permissible to take the Pill for medical reasons. This is known as the principle of double effect. It is not, however, permissible to be sexually active while on the Pill. Even though NFP is the most reliable form of BC, it’s really impossible to know if you’re doing it “correctly”. The only indication you’ll ever get is "Oh…God decided to bless us with a baby!:smiley: . Since you can’t be 100% certain that NFP is “working”, you don’t know if you actually got pregnant, and the Pill killed your baby.


This is what I hear from every woman I know who has been on the Pill, which is why I’m curious to hear from people who say they practice NFP while using it.

Knowing how it works, I can’t imagine how there could be any noticeable signs of fertility. This is why I have always refused the pill when my dr. has suggested it for dysmenorhea and ovarian cysts. It would make NFP difficult, and I don’t like not knowing what’s going on, especially when a human life is potentially at stake. None of my issues are life threatening, and I’m not prepared to do that for my own comfort. And then there are the potential effects the Pill could have on a woman’s health. Not worth it, in my case.

But, people have a greater need to take the Pill for more severe problems than I have say they use NFP simultaneously, and I’d like to know how they manage that. :slight_smile:


It is not, however, permissible to be sexually active while on the Pill.

Just another opinon to share on this::
The Church never allows the pill to be used as an abortifacient. But it does allow the use of the pill for medical reasons with the possiblity of producing an unintended miscarriage—without obliging the couple to abstain from sexual relations during that time.


The pill does not help medical problems, only masks them. Find an NFP only doc… you can find them at Everyone I know that has been on the pill at some point (for “med reasons”) and come off it has had great difficulty in getting back to health. Some have taken more than 5 years. The pill is the only kind of “medicine” we have that STOPS the body from working the way it should.

I have heard of people monitoring cervical mucous while on the pill…if there is peak type mucous, then one can be ovulating. I’m sure its different for every woman, and you probably can’t be absolutely certain and confident.


And your evidence for this is…?


This is common description of POPs:
They work by thickening the cervical mucus so sperm cannot reach the egg, and by making the lining of the uterus thinner. Sometimes they stop ovulation (the release of an egg).


I do not believe this to be entirely true. Very low dose progestogen-only pills may prevent ovulation only about 50% of the time. Intermediate dose progestogen-only contraceptives prevent ovulation most of the time, and high dose contraceptives almost all the time.

In case ovulation does occur, thickening of the cervical mucus prevents sperm from fertilizing an ovum.


Very low dose progestogen-only pills may prevent ovulation only about 50% of the time.

Rayne is correct about progestin-only pills available in the US. The mini-pills or POPs (progestin-only pills) available in the US are low-dose, which include Mircronor (0.35mg), Nor-QD (0.35 mg), & Ovrette (0.0075 mg). The only intermediate-dose progestin-only contraceptive approved in the US is Implanon, which is not a POP. The only high-dose progestin-only contraceptive includes Depo, which is an injection.


I wonder if the people who say they use ABC and NFP are perhaps basing their fertility measurements off past menstrual cycles?

Some women do have remarkably strict cycles that are always the same. Perhaps these couples feel that the woman needs to take ABC for a medical reason, but they feel that practicing NFP will allow them to have marital relations while decreasing the risk of an early abortion.

I wouldn’t argue that it is a good idea, but maybe that is their reasoning.

Also, I know there is a couple that is the head of our local Couple to Couple League. She went on ABC for a period of time for a medical reason and they chose to continue following their average NFP abstinence periods and routine as a spiritual practice.


That is Ovrette 0.075mg, which prevents ovulation in about half of cycles.


You might want to check out Napro Technology for help with your problems. It’s always good to find a moral and effective way to solve health issues! Hope that helps.



Thanks. Fortunately, I have been able to control my symptoms simply with dietary changes, exercise, and vitamin supplements at this point. In fact, several women on this forum recommended a book that has been quite helpful, when I started looking for ways to control my cysts w/o the pill, which as many people have already said here and elsewhere, merely masks the one problem, while creating others. Not worth it, it my opinion, even if one is unmarried and living in such a way as to be at no risk whatsoever of getting pregnant.

I have to say, though, I’m glad I haven’t had any needs so dire as to require me to travel all the way to Nebraska to see dr.hilgers. Drs like him are far to few, and difficult to find. I have yet to see an GYN who doesn’t look completely stunned when I refuse the pill and ask about alternatives. :slight_smile:

Like I said earlier, I started this thread to satisfy my curiosity, not to get advice for myself, since my needs are being met already. I can’t think of any likely circumstances under which I would be willing to take the Pill, myself, since I absolutely love NFP. :slight_smile:


But the info here can be used for someone else seeking similar answers! :smiley: I’ll bet the book was Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon

I’m glad that you’ve been able to control your symptoms!

God bless,


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit