There are several types of methods of natural family planning. The two most common types of NFP (at least in my world) are methods that involved only mucus symptoms and ones that involve both mucus and temperature symptoms. Within these two general classifications there are multiple methods, each mostly started by a different doctor.
Mucus-only methods include: Billings Ovulation (Dr. Billings), Creighton (Dr. Hilgers)
Sympto-thermal methods include: Couple to Couple League (Dr. and Dr. Kippley), Diocese of Harrisburg method (Dr. Roetzer)
In my short time as an NFP user and instructor of a sympto-thermal method I’ve realized that people feel very strongly about the method that they use. It is almost like each method is an NFP gang. You’ll find people are die-hard to protect the name and reputation of their NFP gang. In my little mind, I could imagine all these NFP couples arguging across a street like in West Side Story, touting the benefits of their methods, about to dance into oblivion:
Sympto-thermal: Oh yeah you think you’re so great, but can you confirm ovulation? That’s what I thought! (high 5’s all around)
Mucus-only: Yeah, well, maybe not but we don’t need to! Sperm can’t live without mucus AND we get to sleep in! (Breast-feeding mothers may defect to the mucus-only side at this point)
Sympto-thermal: Yeah well we can double check our symptoms and that makes me feel even more secure! PLUS my husband gets involved by charting temperature! (“oh no you didn’t’s” heard from the crowd)
And it could go on. But I’ll spare you.
In reality, I’m poking fun at all us NFPers, all claiming to have the right method. I think its awesome that there are many doctors working on this research (although there could be WAY more!) and have developed different methods that will suite the needs of women with different situations. It makes NFP all the more accessible (and makes excuses for not using NFP just that – excuses!). After all, its all about choice right? We all deserve a natural method of planning our families that doesn’t compromise our morals, our health or kill babies.
I say all this as introduction to the fact that I. have. defected. I went to a Creighton Method intro class this weekend and I think I’m in love!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved our sympto-thermal method and will continue to teach it. It is simple to learn and use, is conservative enough to avoid pregnancy in all situations, and, as part of the course developed by our Diocese, is an important part of marriage preparation as we spend a significant amount of time on how NFP enhances the marital relationship and to understand the true sacrament of marriage! I think for most couples with regular schedules (to facilitate temp taking), this method will work beautifully to postpone pregnancy and, BONUS!, for couples with normal fertility will help them to achieve pregnancy.
That whole “normal fertility” part is where I start deviating from this group.
While I had near perfect charts to be able to determine with certainty when I was fertile for purposes of avoiding pregnancy, these charts are not as effective at telling me why I’m not getting pregnant.
I signed up for the Creighton classes (mostly per recommendation – you know who you are!) because of the relationship with the Pope Paul VI Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. While I strongly believe (and there’s published studies) on the effectiveness of avoiding pregnancies using the sympto-thermal methods, because those methods are based on the research of doctors now long gone, they lack the continuity of research on achieving pregnancy. Dr. Hilgers, founder of the Creighton Method and the Pope Paul the VI Institute, had the foresight to establish his method institutionally and create a standard for which general women’s health can be assessed in order to continue research in the area of fertility health. This way, sub-fertile women can receive the necessary medical guidance to help achieve pregnancy (and adoption assistance if pregnancy is not possible) using a natural method. I think its brilliant and am excited to continue!
So while I may be wearing Creighton colors now…I’m forever thankful for my thermometer for bringing me to the point of confirming ovulation and making those months of postponing pregnancy as simple as possible :)
I will always remember my roots (double chest thump). Peace out.