By Shannon Eaton, R.N., B.S.N., C.F.C.P., Contributing writer
Shannon Eaton, a fertility care director at the Woman’s New Life Center, 4612 S. Claiborne Ave. in New Orleans, offers the following insights about recent developments in Natural Family Planning (NFP).
People may not know much about the advances in natural family planning and might may be surprised to hear about some of the exciting things going on. Is there anything new in the science of natural family planning?
Generally, people are not aware that NFP is just as effective or more effective than artificial hormonal contraception for avoiding pregnancy, that there is medical science that can treat women’s reproductive issues with the use of NFP and the significant benefits that can be gained from using NFP. Many of our clients return for their first or second session after charting and are thrilled at what they are learning about their bodies. They sometimes ask, “Why didn’t I know about this sooner?”
- What specifically is so compelling about the Creighton Model? Can you explain it briefly?
There are several different types of NFP that involve different “biomarkers” of a woman’s cycle. The Creighton Model is a “mucus-only” method. While there are several mucus-only methods, the detail with which a woman charts her biomarkers with the Creighton Model creates a very precise picture of her fertility and any abnormalities. It’s this precision that allows for the most effective restorative reproductive medical treatment using NaProTechnology. The Creighton Model and NaPro also have more extensive research backing the method and medical treatment.
- Do you teach other forms of NFP?
The Woman’s New Life Center and Hope Woman’s Clinic offer the Creighton Model and the Ovulation Method. All women do not necessarily need to chart in the level of detail required by the Creighton Model, so we offer another effective model for women and couples to choose.
- What do the statistics say about the number of women who are using natural methods of family planning? Is that number growing? If so, is that because of concerns about the side effects of contraceptives? What are some of the proven risk factors of using contraceptives?
The current statistic is 4.1 percent of women use NFP, more recently referred to as fertility-awareness-based methods (FABMs), which is an increase from 2.3 percent in 1982. It is reported that one of the main reasons for growth of use of FABMs is the undesirable side effects and risks of artificial hormonal contraception. That is also one of the main reasons our patients report. Artificial contraception’s side effects include weight gain, depression, decreased libido, nausea and headaches, to name a few, and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, breast, cervical and liver cancer.
- How important has your outreach to teenagers and college students been?
We have had a tremendous response to the “Growing Up Gracefully” program. Teens and their mothers are hungry to learn more. When they hear this truth, they are excited to share it and live it out.
- Have mothers brought their teenage girls in to see you?
Our patient base has many teenage girls. The mothers and teens are so thankful for a doctor who will listen to their problems and offer real solutions to these problems instead of just putting them on the pill.
- Is the “green” movement perhaps a part of women embracing natural family planning?
We have seen many patients who choose Natural Family Planning for health and environmental reasons. We try to reach out to everyone and let them know that there are many reasons that fertility-awareness-based methods are good.
™What about fertility awareness among women? What have you seen in the women you have treated?
So many women are uneducated about their bodies. Once they learn the basics about how their body works and the gift of their fertility, they want to learn more.
- How challenging is it to get husbands on board with NFP?
Some husbands are supportive and helpful. Many embrace it when they hear about the benefits to their spouse and their marriage.
- What has the new clinic on South Claiborne meant to your practice?
We have been so blessed with this new and beautiful building. Our established patients love seeing the new place, and we are hopeful that this great location will bring many more women to our unique clinic.