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  • Written By:Vincent DeMarco, DO

Prior to our marriage, my veterinarian fiancé and I discussed at length the future of our family. As practicing Catholics, and professionals with scientific backgrounds, we looked hard at ways of family planning that squared both with our faith and our professions. I want to first point out, that as a family practice physician, I make no judgments about the various methods of family planning, nor push patients toward one or another. For my wife and me, natural family planning was just the method we chose. It’s not for everyone, but for those who are looking for a natural method, that can also help with other gynecological issues, I wanted to share our experience.

There are different methods for Natural Family Planning (NFP) and natural procreative technology. You may have heard your mother or grandmother mention the “rhythm or calendar” method. It was created in the 1930s, for women to chart out their periods on a calendar and determine fertile days using simple math.

Since then, controlling fertility naturally has become more scientifically based and combines a collection of methods using your body’s natural functioning to determine the days of the month you are most likely to get pregnant. It’s referred to as “fertility awareness” or Natural Family Planning (NFP).

My wife and I opted for The Creighton Model. It is a collaborative effort between a practitioner (who teaches the patient how to recognize the signs) and a NaProtechnology medical consultant like myself. It involved working with a practitioner and learning how to chart events that occur relative to the changes in the cervical mucus as ovulation approaches. For my wife and me, it allowed us to have our daughters (now five years old and 1 year old) when the time was right.

The website, uses this description:

The CrMS (Creighton Model) relies upon the standardized observation and charting of biological markers that are essential to a woman’s health and fertility. These ‘biomarkers” tell the couple when they are naturally fertile and infertile, allowing the couple to use the system either to achieve or to avoid pregnancy. These biomarkers also telegraph abnormalities in a woman’s health. The CrMS allows a woman to unravel the mysteries of the menstrual cycle.

For my patients who use this method, I can use the data from those charts to help with a number of health issues facing women, including:

  • Infertility
  • Pre-menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Post-Partum Depression
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • Endometriosis
  • Repetitive Miscarriages

Again, NFP may not be for everyone. It may be a good option for women who have risky conditions and for those who can dedicate themselves (and partners) to their plan. The Creighton Model has been shown to be as effective, if not more than, some forms of medical contraception – if followed properly. It can also be used to help achieve pregnancy. The key, like most systems is a commitment to and understanding of the principles behind the method. You can learn much more about it by visiting or Talk with your doctor and consider options best for you.

Dr. DeMarco is in Family Practice with Family Medical Care Associates on the St. Mary’s Medical Center campus. Schedule appointments by calling 816-228-1000.