This article isn’t perfect, but the fact that its as good as it is and in CNN is a minor miracle. Nice to see the world is catching up with those of us who’ve been in the know since Humanae Vitae. Now if we could just get the Church to capitalize on this to start promoting our resources….
FAM is frequently referred to as the rhythm method — a system in which women predict their likely fertile days based on the lengths of their cycles. However, FAM advocates say there is a clear distinction. This method is much more careful.
Ilene Richman, director of the Fertility Awareness Center, describes it this way, “It’s a process of becoming aware of the signals your body is giving you and keeping track of them.”
Richman explained that after a women ovulates, her basal body temperature, the body’s lowest temperature throughout the day, would rise. In addition, “A woman who cycles naturally, is going to experience a wetness around the time of ovulation,” Richman says.
When women become more fertile, their bodies produce fluids that help give sperm their best chance at fertilizing the egg. Once a woman ovulates, the consistency of that fluid changes. A woman’s cervix will also change positions, based on whether or not she has ovulated.
Charting temperatures, noting fluid consistency, and checking cervix position can seem overwhelming at first. “I think it can be a little difficult to remember it all in the beginning, but it really isn’t that difficult,” explained Kacey. “Once you get it, you fall into a rhythm.”
The CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are quick to point out that FAM is one of the least-effective methods of birth control.
“You hear about 25%,1 in 4, who use it correctly can expect to get to get pregnant.” says Dr. Nathaniel DeNicola, an OBGYN with the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
But FAM supporters, such as Sarah Bly, a fertility awareness instructor, says that number needs to be parsed out further.
“The perfect use rate is 99.6%-99.4% which is really good,” Bly says. Meaning women who are very particular about keeping their health statistics and not missing even a single day. “A lot of statistics that (the doubters quote) are typical use, which include women taking risks,” Bly says.
A German study from 2007 that tracked 900 women over 20 years consistently using FAM methods found that only 2% of those women had an unintended pregnancy.
DeNicola agrees that it can work for some.
“For the right patient, who is really willing to track the days, and are willing to track the temperature,” he says. READ MORE
If you’d like more information on NFP and how you can celebrate a more grace-filled, passionate, joyful marital sexuality, check out Holy Sex! The Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving. And don’t forget to visit the USCCB Office on Natural Family Planning.