Archive for the ‘Sympto-Thermal Method’ Category

Natural Family Planning and Dr. Konald Prem

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

The Sympto-Thermal Method

Konald A. Prem M.D. and the STM. We met Dr. Konald A. Prem through his interest in ecological breastfeeding. He and Sheila were scheduled to be on the “breastfeeding and spacing” panel at the La Leche League convention in 1971. Because a job change brought us to the Twin Cities, we were able to meet with Dr. Prem before the convention so they could decide who would cover what material. When that was done, we asked him if he would be interested in helping us get an NFP organization started, and he was very enthusiastic about the idea. He was already teaching individual couples and giving talks in one parish after another, and he realized that something more was needed. He was well respected nationally, served a term as the Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota, and was selected as the advisor to the STM side of the 1976-1978 comparative study in Los Angeles. When I asked him about teaching the temperature-only system of G. K. Doering, he insisted that we cross-check the three days of full-thermal shift with at least two days of drying-up of the cervical mucus—what we label as Rule K— with the K standing for Konald.   The 1967 Doering study is at our website ( . This may be the only English translation; we didn’t find one available so we hired a translator.)

Dr. Konald Prem taught us the sympto-thermal method during our first year of natural family planning classes at St. Odilia’s Parish in St. Paul MN. He came to every class each month that first year.

John F. Kippley

Natural Family Planning: Why NFP International Is Needed

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

By the fall of 2004 it was becoming clear to us that the NFP organization we founded in 1971 was making changes or dropping the three main teachings we brought to that organization that had served people so well for the 32 years of our leadership.

These three main teachings are called the Triple Strand.  We think the Triple Strand is so good that it needs to be kept alive and spread– we think that everybody in the world has the right to know these things.  Further, we think that our two specific charisms (the eco-breastfeeding and the covenant theology) are special gifts from God and have been confirmed by the actions and words of St. John Paul II.  In addition, Dr. Konald Prem’s teaching of the sympto-thermal method is superior to other NFP methods and should continue to be taught.  Thus this was the main reason, among others, as to why we started NFP International.

Regarding ecological breastfeeding
In 1995 St. John Paul II co-hosted with the Royal Society of England a conference on breastfeeding at the Vatican.  In his talk, he endorsed the recommendations of UNICEF and the WHO for mothers to breastfeed for two years and beyond.  Frequent suckling is the only way that a mother will have a milk supply at 12, 18, and 24 months.  And the Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding are a mother’s best assurance of frequent suckling. Some couples use only eco-bf to space their babies apart.  We know of two mothers who have written a series of blogs about the Seven Standards.  One’s website was called something like “Crunchy Lutheran Mom.”  The other wrote for her diocesan paper in Ireland.

Regarding the Covenant theology
In 1994, ten years after he completed his opus magnum of the Theology of the Body, the Pope wrote a short document titled “Letter to Families from John Paul II.”  In it he specifically endorsed the covenant theology.  “In the conjugal act, husband and wife are called to confirm in a responsible way the mutual gift of self which they have made to each other in the marriage covenant.”  This may be the first time a Pope has used such terminology.  Scott Hahn, a rather famous convert, told me that I am the first person (of whom he is aware) to put that concept into writing.  I can’t prove or disprove his opinion, but I take it seriously because he is the best-read person I know.  My book, Birth Control and the Marriage Covenant, was the occasion for him and his wife to learn this when they were married students in a Protestant seminary.  At the time, Scott considered himself the most anti-Catholic member of the student body.  I consider it divine Providence that another couple in their married student housing complex lent that book to his wife, Kimberly, whose father was the fairly well known pastor of a Presbyterian church in North College Hill.

Regarding the Prem STM
In 1976-1978 the US Bishops NFP organization persuaded NIH to conduct a study to compare the Billings mucus-only system with the cross-checking sympto-thermal system.  The results were so much in favor of the STM that the investigators stopped the study.  The difference was something like twice as many unplanned pregnancies in the mucus-only section.  It was a randomized study, and the investigators could no longer pretend that they didn’t know which half of the study was more effective in avoiding pregnancy.  Yet two of the principal mucus-only advocates put up such a fuss that these results are by and large ignored.  All too many mucus-only advocates have the diocesan NFP jobs.

Soooooo, in a nutshell, that’s why we feel obliged to do what we can to keep these ideas alive.

John and Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach
From July 19th to the evening of August 7th (NFP Awareness Week through World Breastfeeding Week) anyone can purchase the following printed books at a 40% discount at lulu:
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach
The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor
Battle-Scarred: Justice Can Be Elusive
Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing

Some Natural Family Planning Questions

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

A man wrote asking several questions about NFP.  Here are John’s response to those questions or concerns.

Thanks for writing.  I will try to help.

1.  Couple with a serious reason to avoid pregnancy.  You have described a very difficult situation, and I can empathize with your priest.  However, he erred in saying that the couple in that situation can use contraception.  He should read my book, Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality.  In a chapter on the formation of conscience, I quote Pope John Paul II over and over again to show that the teaching reaffirmed by Casti Connubii and Humanae Vitae is binding and cannot be changed.  It is not a matter of situation ethics.  In the situation you describe, I would recommend that the couple abstain from relations from the beginning of menstruation until a combination of signs indicate that she is in postovulation infertility.  A woman who is ovulating will have a temperature shift after ovulation as well as having her mucus dry up.  The couple might want to wait for what we call a Rule C interpretation or add one day to the other rules.

I highly recommend that you get a copy of our current manual, Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach at You can download it, but I recommend getting the paper copy with the spiral binding.

2.  Comparative research has shown that the cross-checking sympto-thermal method is more effective than mucus by itself.  I don’t know what you mean by a normal sleep pattern.  We have seen “ideal” charts from a nurse who worked constantly changing shifts.  We address these issues in our manual.  Few mothers of young children have no interruptions of sleep for weeks on end, and that is usually not a problem.  The important thing is to follow the temperature-taking guidelines in our manual.

3.  The question about menopause is too vague for an answer.  Menopause can be a difficult time because ovulation becomes less frequent.  If a woman is well experienced in both the mucus and cervix signs, she can identify the fertile and infertile times very well and can engage in the marriage act with a relative lack of abstinence.  However, if they are very fearful of pregnancy, then the best thing to do, barring gaining confidence in her observations, is to abstain until her signs say she is in post-ovulation infertility.

The Gospel for this past Sunday dealt with the teaching of Jesus about the need to accept and carry our cross daily.  There is no doubt that the practice of marital chastity provides a cross, sometimes light and sometimes heavy.  It is also true that the cross is the price of discipleship.

If you have more questions after you have studied our current manual, feel free to write or call.

In His service,
John F. Kippley
PS:  The man’s Response to John:  “Your response gets to the heart of the matter and helps much. Thank you. (and thanks for the prompt reply).”