Before even  leaving the hospital after my second child, I was visited by a family planning nurse.  She talked to me about the importance of spacing children and using contraception “for at least a year,” until my body was ready to have another child.

“Are you using contraception?” she asked.

“Well no, my husband and I are practicing Natural Family Planning>”

“NFP! That doesn’t work, you should be using the pill.”

This response is typical of doctors and nurses across North America.  How can I explain to my doctor that I really don’t want to avoid kids?  Does she really know what she is suggesting when she prescribes the pill?”

NFP does not have the support of the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry and so the medical community aside, there are good reasons to use NFP and powerful reasons not to use the pill.

First, the pill has many negative side effects and is sometimes an abortifacient.  There are more than 40 types of contraceptive pills on the market and they all work basically in one of two ways, depending on the level of estrogen.

A contraceptive pill with a high level of estrogen tricks the body into thinking it’s already pregnant.  As a result, the body doesn’t send an ovum down the fallopian tube.  High estrogen pills generally don’t cause a pregnancy to abort, but high level estrogen pills have become less and less popular because of the many side effects.  These include nausea, vomiting, migraines and the uterus aging at twice the normal rate.  That is, for every year a woman is on the pill, her uterus ages two years.  In addition, prolonged use of the pill can cause hair loss, stroke, blindness, growth of facial hair and skin cancer.

The other, more popular type of birth control pill, has lower levels of estrogen.  It starves the ova and prevents its implantation in the uterine wall.  What happens with this second type of pill is that conception can and often does take place, a new human baby is given life, but because the pill prevents implantation, the baby dies.  This type of pill causes an abortion.

Both high and low-dose estrogen pills are not recommended by the President of Ortho Pharmaceutical to women who smoke or who are over 35, who have a family history of poor circulation, depression, asthma and acne.  Also, the fact that there are 23 drugs that neutralize the effect of the pill, three of which are antibiotics – is but a footnote.  Obviously the pill isn’t the panacea it’s made out to be.  Why is all this kept secret?

On the other hand, Natural Family Planning is little understood and highly underrated.  Accepting got the moment the pro-contraception premise that avoiding children is a good thing, studies have found the Creighton Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning (developed at the University of Omaha) to be 99.6% effective.  This is an effectiveness rating higher than any pill.

NFP observes a woman’s cycle through the charting of her daily mucus.  When fertile mucus is observed, the couple abstains from intercourse if no pregnancy is desired.  No side-effects and no risks at a fraction of the cost.

Couples who begin practicing NFP with a view to using it as safe contraception invariably end up deciding to have children upon learning more about their reproductive systems and the wonder of new life.  Indeed, many couples end up using NFP to improve their chances of conceiving.

According to Dr. Theresa McKenna, a gynaecologist who has been working with NFP for a number of years, the problem is that the medical schools teach about a woman’s menstrual cycle in terms of a biological function.  They have not taken it a step further to observe it in terms of fertility and infertility.

Why is this the case?  Is it because the few days of abstinence are too much?  Is it because NFP is considered an unsophisticated home remedy?  Or is it because NFP can’t be sold in little plastic packages and that people who sell these packages also influence the thinking of the medical profession?

Truth will restore the wonder and dignity of motherhood.