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Doc Talk: Natural Family Planning Methods

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Trying to get pregnant and avoiding getting pregnant can be some of the most stressful times in a woman and her family's life.

One doctor says she tries to get her patients to explore natural family planning or NFP to track and chart her body's functions. She says these methods are generally around 98 percent effective.

A woman may live in her body her whole life, but that doesn't necessarily mean she knows exactly how it operates. That's why some doctors say natural family planning is a good way to learn about your body's cycle and fertility and help a woman get pregnant or avoid it.

"NFP is a methodology of charting a woman's biomarkers or some signs that she can experience in order to see when she has her natural fertility and infertility times of her cycle," explains Dr. Christine Hemphill, a Holy Spirit OBGYN.

That typically means charting cycles and ovulation, tracking body temperature, the position of the cervix and mucus observation.

Holy Spirit OBGYN Christine Hemphill says despite what people think certain methods of tracking and charting are 98 percent effective for both getting pregnant and avoiding pregnancy. She says some don't believe that because of NFP's history with the Catholic Church.

"It's not generally offered everywhere. A lot of people have the common misconception that NFP is the rhythm method and so the effectiveness is around 80-85 percent and so they won't get past the fact that we have more scientific evidence to prove that it is more effective than that."

Ultimately she's found that women who use natural family planning are grateful they did it.

"It's empowering to them," says Dr. Hemphill. "I've had more than a handful of patients saying that they walk in, they wish they had learned to chart their cycles as a teenager 10 that they really understand their bodies a lot better now than they ever did."

If you're interested in Natural Family Planning and finding the method that's best of you talk to your doctor.

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