Ascension Saint Agnes Natural Fertility Care
What type of appointment would you like to book?
Natural Family Planning
Is the Rhythm Method the same as Natural Family Planning the same as the Rhythm Method?
No. That’s like the difference between a map and GPS.
The phrase “The Rhythm Method” was coined in 1932 when Ob/Gyn Dr Leo Latz wrote The Rhythm of Sterility and Fertility in Women.2 A few years prior, Drs Ogino and Knaus had independently discovered that ovulation occurs about 14 days before the onset of menses. With that they developed formulas which estimated the fertile window based on the lengths of a woman’s past cycles. Most couples who used the rhythm method did not actually apply the calculations developed by Dr Latz, but estimated their fertile phase based on a 28-day cycle. Only 10-15% of women have a consistent, reliable 28-day cycle, so many couples were not correctly identifying their potential days of fertility.
Modern methods of NFP use prospective biological signs to identify days of fertility and infertility.
Why have I heard that NFP has a 25% failure rate?
This statistic is based on a 1995 and 2002 survey conducted by the CDC called the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).3,4 While the NSFG is a rigorously designed and carefully conducted survey of Americans’ experiences with family planning, it was never a tool designed to look at the actual efficacy of any method of NFP. For the survey, women were polled by phone on the method of birth control that was used when they had an unplanned pregnancy. 86% of the women stated they were using the “calendar,” “rhythm,” or “periodic abstinence” method, which are not considered reliable, scientific forms of NFP. (see FAQ 1).
Also, the survey did not measure if the participants were actually doing NFP correctly. Studies in the medical literature that look at the actual efficacy of a prospective method of NFP consistently find that the failure rate may be as low 1-2%.5-10
Which method of NFP should I use?
You can choose any method of natural family planning that fits your needs and lifestyle. Creighton and Billings use only one biomarker, or indicator from your body to identify the fertile window, cervical mucus. Sympto-Thermal uses several markers like basal body temperature, mucus and menstrual history. The Marquette Model uses the ClearBlue Fertility Monitor along with mucus and/or temperature.
Does this mean we have to abstain all the time?
Of course not. Every woman’s body is different, but the fertile window lasts up to 7-8 days for all of us. While it can be challenging to identify your fertile days in the beginning, NFP allows us to really understand our bodies. What could be more empowering?
Plus, abstinence is not such a bad thing! Couples learn to express their affection in different ways, and recognize the love that’s involved with making sacrifices for the good of the other. It can also make a couple more appreciative of the times when they are able to be sexually intimate.
Is there an app I can use to do NFP?
Apps are a great way of keeping track of your biological markers, but they cannot do NFP for you. Many of the apps were designed to help with achieving pregnancy, not avoiding pregnancy. It does make a difference! Some apps use their own algorithms for determining the fertile phase, and these have not been studied in the medical literature. Here is a link that rates common Fertility Apps, courtesy of the group FACTS, an organization that educates medical professionals about NFP.11
How do I learn NFP?
You can choose to attend an in-person or online class to learn about NFP. Formal instruction is strongly recommended to ensure that you have learned the method correctly. We’re here to give you the education you need and answer your questions.
Do you have a list of local NFP teachers?
Yes! A list of teachers in the area can be provided by our office upon request.