Don’t Gobble Up Everything You Hear

Oh, the joys of Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, everyone loves the food and almost everyone appreciates the quality time, but what family doesn’t find themselves in squabbles around the close quarters of the dining room table?

It seems like family gatherings these past few years have grown increasingly tense, increasingly divided and increasingly political. While we don’t encourage anyone to fan the flames as tension may arise — much less engage in an actual fight — it is important to keep a critical head on our shoulders and remember that just because Aunt Dorothy claims something doesn’t make it true.

For some reason the topics of family size and even birth control have been known come up even around the not-so-private Thanksgiving table.  Inevitably, someone will refer to natural family planning as the Rhythm Method. Do not lose heart, dear reader, because contrary to the lovely but misinformed relative across the turkey from you…

Natural family planning is not the rhythm method.

Don’t feel obliged to speak up, but bear in mind the fundamental differences:

Natural Family Planning (or more broadly, fertility awareness-based methods (FABM))…

  • Uses modern-day, cutting edge science.
  • Relies on tracking symptoms that are scientifically proven to correlate to fertility.
  • Tracks these symptoms (and thus fertility) in real-time.
  • Therefore, applies to any cycle, any time, no matter how irregular or inconsistent.
  • Can even be used to pinpoint maximum fertility to the day, greatly increasingly likelihood of conception for those couples trying to have a child.
  • Monitors reproductive health by paying such close attention to detail.
  • Often alerts users to other significant health problems, since fertility is strongly related to women’s overall health.

Whereas the rhythm method…

  • Was discovered in the 1930’s, and has been largely left behind by superior natural methods.
  • Relies on counting days on a calendar, so it doesn’t actually monitor fertility but functions strictly on national averages and old statistics.
  • Doesn’t work for 88 percent of women since it was based on a 28-day “standard” menstrual cycle that turned out to not be standard at all.
  • Doesn’t apply to irregular cycles.
  • Relies on unscientific guesswork.
  • Often reaps inaccurate results, providing no reliable reading of overall health at all.

Again, we’re not encouraging anyone to go off on Uncle Jim for his practically nonexistent knowledge of the complex functions of the female reproductive system, but take that awkward silence after his outburst to remind yourself why you believe what you believe.

And if you want to save yourselves the trouble, always feel free to direct your doubtful family members to us. Here are a few article to get them started, and we’ll take the rest from there:

5 NFP myths debunked
Why contraceptives aren’t essential for Americans’ health
NFP Uncensored: PCOS
20 reasons why
Petition: Get the facts

— CCL Staff Member