Archive for the ‘Sympto-Thermal Method’ Category

Natural Family Planning: A Debate Once Settled

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

The Catholic Church is the only real hope of this country.  The Protestant churches have all caved on the matter of birth control, most of the them have caved on abortion, and I’m not sure how many will stand firm against sodomy as marriage.  Logically, the acceptance of contraception entails the acceptance of sodomy, as was predicted and then fulfilled in the Church of England.

The importance of the Catholic Church is what makes our work so frustrating.

Also frustrating is the fact that the US  Bishops started the Human Life Foundation in 1968 which then succeeded in getting the NIH to run a comparative study of the Ovulation Method (OM) and the Sympto-Thermal Method  (STM) in 1976-1978.  What they found was that the STM was so superior to the OM that they discontinued the study early.  The professional ethics of the investigators would not allow them to put people into the OM side after they were certain that the STM was superior.  As the study reported, “It is of interest that after couples were informed in August, 1978, that a statistically significant trend in the pregnancy rates between the OM and STM groups had been found, almost all of the STM volunteers continued in training and virtually all of the OM volunteers requested to be, and were, thoroughly trained in STM.”

Drs. John Billings and Thomas Hilgers raised objections, apparently forgetting that any faults of the study applied to both sides, and their comments had no effect on the final report in 1981.  So after the bishops got this study, the various diocesan offices seem to ignore it.  It seems to me that dioceses do more promotion of the OM than any other program.  The user effectiveness of the OM in that study was just under 61%.  The Joanne Doud study of the Creighton Model reported a user effectiveness of 96% but when standard statistics were applied (counting the pregnancies that the couples themselves said were unplanned), the rate was 67%.  Yet dioceses seem to think that this is the way to go.

I have to wonder if one reason for the failure of the Church to persuade great numbers of couples to use only natural methods might be that the imperfect-use rates of the most touted systems are in the same ballpark as the Calendar Rhythm that they sometimes compare and criticize.

I am convinced that the bishops need to adopt a core curriculum for NFP that will give couples sufficient information so that they will be able to make informed choices about which signs they want to use or not use.  What we have had for the last 45 years has not been working.  I think it’s time to have both a mandated course and that such a course be sufficiently complete.

John Kippley

Natural Family Planning: The Value of the Temperature Sign

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Here  are some benefits pf using the temperature sign during a woman’s fertile years:

Is a one-minute sign.  Does not take all day to observe.

Provides 99% certainty of pregnancy and saves the test of a pregnancy kit.

Tells you when pregnancy has not occurred.

Tells you when your period is about to start.

Tells you when a very fertile-looking mucus patch was not associated with ovulation.

Tells you when you have irregular shedding.

Identifies a double mucus patch.

May inform a woman that she is sick or has a special situation even if she feels fine.

May give her a clue as to why she hasn’t conceived.

Gives a clear indication of post-ovulation infertility, so much so that one particular type of thermal shift has been found to be equivalent to sterilization.

Gives a good indication of the end of pre-ovulation infertility, thanks to Dr. E. K. Doering.

Works well for a cycling breastfeeding mother.

Gets the husband involved whether trying to conceive or avoid.

Is very objective and easy to learn.

Unfortunately, some persons say things about the temperature sign that are mistaken.  For good instruction on temperature-taking and answers to some common misunderstandings, read Chapter 3 in Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  A good basal digital thermometer is recommended at the NFPI website.

Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach

Natural Family Planning: Teaching the Two Internal Fertility Signs

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Persons we corresponded with were influenced by the work of Dr. Edward F. Keefe.  Over 40 years ago, two breastfeeding mothers corresponded with me about how helpful the cervix sign was in determining the return of fertility during breastfeeding amenorrhea.  At that time I had published (in mimeograph form) the first edition of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.  Because of this book, the mothers wanted to share their experiences with me.  One of those mothers conceived once without a period during breastfeeding amenorrhea.  In another breastfeeding experience, she found the cervix sign invaluable in determining the return of fertility with her nursing 15 month old baby.  Again her fertility returned during breastfeeding amenorrhea, but she observed the return using the cervix sign.  She was charting the mucus sign but the cervix sign was more helpful at that time.  As a result of my correspondence with those mothers, we felt obligated to teach the cervix sign.  These mothers were influenced by Dr. Keefe’s work.

John and I taught the cervix sign and the internal mucus exam when we first started teaching NFP in 1971.  These two fertility signs were taught in our first teaching manual, The Art of Natural Family Planning (1972).  I remember years ago being at an NFP gathering when the women began discussing how great the internal mucus exam was.  One woman did not know where she was in her cycle, tried the internal mucus exam and found it to be very helpful. She was raving about this sign and got the discussion started.

I encourage other couples who have a sufficiently serious reason to postpone pregnancy to consider learning these two signs, the internal mucus exam and the cervix exam.  These signs can be learned and then used during difficult times when needed.  These internal exams or signs are optional, yet very helpful. For those interested in learning all the fertility signs, including the internal mucus and the cervix signs, read Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  The manual is in an easy-to-understand question-and-answer format.

Sheila Kippley