NFP reliability!


#1

To those of you who have been using nfp out there, how reliable is it, really? I have been researching some stuff on the internet and it seems as though I’m finding a lot of sites that have doctors saying that it isn’t really that reliable of a method. This is a little scary for me. We haven’t started using it yet but I would like to. Husband is not Catholic and does not understand importance of nfp and is nervous about reliability as well. We would love a child to be in our lives of course but there is just no way we could afford it right now. I am very concerned over this issue and would appreciate any input anyone could offer. Thanks!


#2

I have used NFP for nearly nine years and have not gotten pregnant. We have daughter concieved after only 2 months of trying before we started NFP. I have a heart problem that would make another pregnancy almost certainly fatal for me.

When used correctly it is reliable as the Pill. I strongly advise you to take a class to get proper instruction. CCL can direct you to teachers in your area.
ccli.org/

I stake my life on NFP’s reliabilty but it’s only as reliable as the people who use it, so it’s important to recieve proper instruction.
Then you must trust in God.

God Bless.


#3

My wife and I have been using NFP the whole time we’ve been married (only 5 months now :slight_smile: ) and from our experience so far, its been 100% effective in postponing pregnancy.

I think that the reason so many people (doctors included) say that it isn’t effective or reliable is out of ignorance or prejudice. NFP is very rarely taught in medical school and many often confuse NFP with the rhythm method. As rayne89 mentioned, the Couple to Couple League site is excellent and they really are the best people to learn it from. Concerning NFP’s effectiveness, this link will direct you towards reliable info on that.

Here’s some quoted studies from that link:

The Los Angeles Study
100% Method Effectiveness

Between 1976 and 1978, the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare conducted a prospective study to determine the relative user effectiveness of two different systems of Natural Family Planning.[1] Participants were randomly assigned to either the Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) or Ovulation Method (OM) sides of the study. However, they were first screened to eliminate any couples who had a serious health, economic, or social reason to avoid pregnancy. The resulting group of **1257 couples ** had an average age of 28 and had only one child per family…

…The couples who followed these simple rules achieved a 100% effectiveness rate in avoiding pregnancy, i.e., zero unplanned pregnancies.

The Fairfield Study
99% Method Effectiveness

Between 1970 and 1972, **1022 couples ** participated in a five nation (Canada, Colombia, France, Mauritius, U.S.A.) study called the Fairfield Study after the university of the principal investigator…

…The couples who followed these *more liberal rules * achieved a method effectiveness rate of 99%…


#4

A lot of people will catagorize NFP as being the same as the “rhythm method.” However, it is not. The RM is something our grandmas used a long time ago, but obviously did not work too well. NFP is more tuned to your body’s signals and can indicate when you are able to conceive. It’s very individualized. Don’t listen to secular doctors. Besides, couples who use NFP have a less than 1% divorce rate.


#5

Unfortunately you have to read the context of the statistics. Sometimes a study will be quoted that say NFP is 83% effective and go on to say that hormonal contraceptives are 99% effective. The article will neglect to say that the same study the 83% NFP rate is quoted from showed about the same for hormonal contraceptives.

Needless to say, there are studies to show modern methods of NFP are as effective as any other method, when used properly. A library is a good source to follow up on some of the quoted statistics.


#6

It is totally effective. I am not willing yet to say 100%…but pretty darn close. My wife and I use it…and once you understand it…it is like “duh” you can’t get pregnant if you don’t have sex! You just have to be able to control your hormones in the times that you have to abstain, but that is all about what being a follower of christ is…controlling ourself and sacrifice.

Just think about it this say…with NFP, you don’t have sex when you can get pregnant…so no possibility of pregnancy. With contraception you have sex whenever you want. So you will have sex when you can get pregnant…so if your trusty pill or latex fails (like they scientifically do, then you are pregnant). or with the pill, your baby gets aborted.


#7

Properly practiced NFP is more effective for avoidance than any artificial birth control. What scares doctors is one of two things:

  1. They ignorantly assume it is just rythm. This is getting rarer in my experience.
  2. Their experience is that most Americans just don’t have the discipline for it.

#2 above is a more forgivable excuse, but still an excuse. NFP DOES require a lot of discipline and self control. Discipline to properly monitor the woman’s body for the signs of approaching ovulation, and self-control to deal with the fact that the times that the woman most wants relations are the times she is fertile!

As a man, I find that second part the hardest to deal with. As we all know, men want it all the time! To know the arousal of ones spouse and have to refuse it is tough. Especially when you know that 6 days later when she is not fertile, she is going to be much less likely to be interested!

If I were you, I’d worry more about how hard it is and how much giving it takes on both your parts than about how trustworthy it is. He’s going to have to be ready to give up ‘the easy ones’ and you are going to have to remember his needs when you aren’t naturally inclined to be interested.

The doctor has no idea how much personal discipline you possess. So they assume we are all the lowest common denominator. My 2 cents.

When learning NFP, be sure to learn about the underlying principals of the unitive and procreative nature of married sexuality. Study and pray. Constantly reevaluate why you are avoiding more children. It WILL improve your marriage.


#8

[quote=manualman]Properly practiced NFP is more effective for avoidance than any artificial birth control. What scares doctors is one of two things:

  1. They ignorantly assume it is just rythm. This is getting rarer in my experience.
  2. Their experience is that most Americans just don’t have the discipline for it.

[/quote]

There is another expression for your point #2: treat people (women) like cattle. They don’t know what’s good for them, so just prescribe them something so they don’t breed. You see this more in international policy where contraception is pushed on third world countries based on western culture ideals.

If you can’t expect someone to control their sexual desires/urges, what’s to stop them from following through with other urges? Put software limitation in our cars so no one goes over 65mph? Or “I didn’t kill him, the gun did”! That’s not right.


#9

[quote=Rascal]If you can’t expect someone to control their sexual desires/urges, what’s to stop them from following through with other urges? Put software limitation in our cars so no one goes over 65mph? Or “I didn’t kill him, the gun did”! That’s not right.
[/quote]

We don’t disagree. The doctors mean well, they just don’t see the condescention.

I hope you don’t think those examples are outlandishly unlikely.
I’ve worked for more than one employer that outfitted buzzers in company vehicles to sound when the car went over 55mph. As to the second, it’s the philosophical underpinning of the folks who want to ban gun ownership.


#10

Thanks for the replies. I think maybe I’m just afraid to trust myself with this, like what if I make a mistake? I’m no longer on the pill (as soon as I found out about its abortifacient aspects I went off it immediately, quite peeved no doctor ever mentioned this to me) we are currently using another method, and it’s just easier to trust that than myself. So, I guess it’s my fault… I have a lot to work on within, I guess…finding appropriate instruction as well. It’s odd that this is the only issue that I really have in church teaching, well, major issue anyway. I sort of decided to take it on faith since I accept all other church teachings and would hope that understanding would come through practice and prayer. Anyways more advice and stories is welcome, I appreciate it. Thanks again :slight_smile:

-Celia


#11

It all comes down to what you said. Knowing the rules is one thing. Living it is another. God is very important in dealing with this. Pray together.

Peace,
Jen


#12

[quote=Celia] We would love a child to be in our lives of course but there is just no way we could afford it right now. I am very concerned over this issue and would appreciate any input anyone could offer. Thanks!
[/quote]

Celia,
If we all waited until we were finacially ready none of us would have kids. :smiley: When I had my first kid we were making about $400 a month and no health insurance! It can be done. God will always help. Have faith.

Peace, Jen


#13

[quote=Celia] I think maybe I’m just afraid to trust myself with this, like what if I make a mistake? So, I guess it’s my fault… I have a lot to work on within.

I guess…finding appropriate instruction as well. It’s odd that this is the only issue that I really have in church teaching, well, major issue anyway. I sort of decided to take it on faith since I accept all other church teachings and would hope that understanding would come through practice and prayer.
-Celia
[/quote]

Celia,
Have faith in God not in yourself. Let God lead you. Trust in God and pray for strength, for an increase in faith…

About the church teaching’s… I don’t know if you are a big reader but people always talk about “Humanae Vitae.” It is a little book on the regulation of birth. Check it out for the church’s teaching.

About the different methods, there is a thread in Moral forum titled “Do you use Natural Family Planning?” There are several different methods mentioned on the different posts.

Peace, Jen


#14

Here’s a link to Humanae Vitae on line

newadvent.org/library/docs_pa06hv.htm


#15

[quote=Celia]…(as soon as I found out about its abortifacient aspects I went off it immediately, quite peeved no doctor ever mentioned this to me)…
[/quote]

One big reason that no doctor ever mentioned that to you is because the pill doesn’t technically work as an abortifacient…at least not according to the latest medical terminology.

The latest I’ve heard is that the medical field has changed or is currently changing the definition of conception. Normally you’d think that conception occurs when the sperm fertilizes the egg…this was always the understanding (and is the Church’s teaching). However, now it is being more commonly accepted that conception occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus…this is what the pill prevents. It allows fertilization, but prevents implantation. And since conception occurs during implantation, the pill can’t be considered an abortifacient because conception techmically never occurs.

Its just a loop hole that they’ve conveniently made for themselves.


#16

[quote=Celia]. It’s odd that this is the only issue that I really have in church teaching, well, major issue anyway. I sort of decided to take it on faith since I accept all other church teachings and would hope that understanding would come through practice and prayer. Anyways more advice and stories is welcome, I appreciate it. Thanks again :slight_smile:

-Celia
[/quote]

Hi, Celia,

My husband and I, both recent converts, decided to use NFP when we got married, even though like you, we were taking the Church teaching against contraception entirely on faith. We more or less “got” the philosophical and theological arguments about NFP, but had a hard time really accepting and internalizing the reasons why contraception is wrong. Anyway, understanding DID come through practice and prayer, as you are hoping.

We are thrilled to be using NFP now and are so grateful for the wisdom of the Church. As many can attest to, it can bear beautiful fruit in a marriage, and learning about our fertility (yes, OURS) has been a very intimate experience for my husband and I.

Blessings on you as you seek God’s will!


#17

I can’t quote any studies, but I understood there was one done in India, where Mother Theresa was teaching NFP to the Hindus, and it had a range in the hundredths of a percent. I think there has been a similar study in China, where I udnerstand it is considered highly effective.

One of the most obvious issues is what does “effective” mean? It doesn’t mean that it didn’t work when it was ignored. Someone on another thread chose to have intercourse during the time where it was contraidicated; her attitude seemed to approach an “oh well”. I would not consider NFP non-effective for her; she knew the signs and disregarded them.


#18

I’ve heard of that Mother Teresa story. Guess if they could learn it, I could, with the resources available to me. :o I’ve read Humanae Vitae as well, in high school in health class. (catholic school) But I guess maybe I need to re-evaluate it. I have lots of research and thinking to do.


#19

I believe that Christopher West has a book out which helps regular folks understand Humanae Vitae. He also has a book entitled The Good News About Sex and Marriage which really helped me and my husband understand the “whys” behind the Church’s disapproval of contraception.

We are currently learning the sympto-thermal method. From all of the research I have done, and the practical knowledge obtained from the people on this forum, I understand that NFP is (when used seriously) as effective as the Pill…if not more effective.

Feel free to PM me if you’d like.

Malia


#20

Been using it for over four years now, I have had two expected pregnancies. For your non-Catholic husband www.tcoyf.com is a great place to start. I’ve done TCOYF then the Billings Method. For the time you have to abstain, you just make it up in the non-fertiel stages. NFP takes time, so expect a good three months of observation of your ferility signs, chart them, share them with yoru husband.


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