10 reasons why NFP beats birth control
Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to the scientific, fertility-awareness based methods of — you guessed it — family planning. Unlike artificial contraception, NFP takes an all-inclusive approach and is proven to work better than its synthetic counterparts. Here’s how:
NFP has a 99.6 percent success rate.
According to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology, NFP has a 99.6 percent success rate. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that the Pill’s success rate is 92 percent and that condoms succeed only 79-81 percent of the time.
NFP is pro-woman.
By using NFP, the woman is empowered with knowledge about how her own body works. Since NFP does not chemically manipulate the woman’s body, she can catch fertility problems early on and have a better understanding of her overall health. Plus, if she wants to conceive, she doesn’t have to wait two to six months to achieve a natural cycle like she would if she’d been taking the Pill.
NFP is education-based.
Understanding the female fertility cycle is necessary to use NFP. In fact, 93 percent of women can learn how to read and chart their cycle in just four weeks of observation. Of couples who practice NFP, 85 percent of women and 82 percent of men claimed that what they learned from NFP helped them teach their kids about sexuality.
NFP is free of synthetic hormones.
NFP does not use synthetic hormones to suppress a woman’s ovulation like hormonal contraceptives do. These contraceptives, including the Pill, are classified as Level-1 carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. They increase a woman’s risk of cervical cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer.
NFP has no negative side-effects.
Since NFP does not involve synthetic hormones, it does not have the negative side-effects that come with hormonal contraceptives (i.e. the Pill, NuvaRing, shots, patches, certain IUDs, etc.). The Mayo Clinic reported that side-effects of hormonal contraception may include: blood clots, stroke, coughing up blood, sudden headaches and migraines, loss of coordination, sudden loss of vision, increased blood pressure, vaginal infection, abdominal cramping and bloating, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness and weakness, mental depression, weight gain, and decreased sexual desire.
NFP doesn’t mess with your immune system.
Hormonal contraceptives, like the Pill and NuvaRing, alter the immune mediators in the female reproductive system. This increases the woman’s risk of getting STDs like HIV-1. Barrier methods, like condoms, also put women at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia if they get pregnant.
NFP respects your spouse’s dignity.
To use NFP accurately, both spouses have to communicate well with each other. This helps the man and woman understand one another on an even deeper level and reminds them that family planning is the responsibility of both spouses. Both spouses are equally involved in NFP — this helps them appreciate one another as persons and not take each other for granted. Couples who use NFP have a divorce rate under 3 percent.
NFP is accessible to everyone, no matter your income.
Because NFP is based on educating women and men on the woman’s fertility cycle, it does not rely on resource availability the way artificial contraception does. This means that both the rich and the poor can afford an effective method of family planning. A study in India showed that 19,483 poor women using NFP had a pregnancy rate of less than 1 percent. This particular effort was thanks to now-St. Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity.
NFP is environmentally conscious.
As a fertility-awareness based method, NFP doesn’t use artificial materials that can harm the environment. Condoms made with latex or polyurethane produce a lot of non-biodegradable waste. Scientists also claim that water treatment plants are not equipped to remove the synthetic hormones from the Pill found in sewage water.
Couples who use NFP stick with it.
Of the couples who use NFP, 89 percent of them choose to keep using it. Compare this to contraception: the Pill comes in at 68 percent, diaphragms 57 percent, shots 56 percent, condoms 53 percent, and spermicides 42 percent.
Anna Fitzroy is a 24-year-old Illinois native. She lives and works in Springfield.