NaProTechnology, a newer women’s health science, has been growing in popularity over the past several years. The science monitors and helps women to maintain their reproductive health by utilizing medical and surgical treatments that respect them by working with their bodies in a cooperative way. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has health care practitioners on both ends of the diocese who specialize in NaProTechnology and fertility care.
To help women and men better understand NaProTechnology, Suzy Younger, a Certified Fertilitycare Practitioner at Saint Joseph Fertilitycare Center in Mishawaka, answered a few questions.
What is NaPro Technology?
NaProTechnology is a new reproductive health science that works cooperatively with a woman’s body to evaluate, diagnose and treat any gynecologic and procreative issues she may face.
When used in conjunction with the Creighton Model FertilityCare System, referred to as CrMS for short, a woman is able to chart the biomarkers of her fertility cycles and this information can then be used by her physician to find effective solutions for issues such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, premenstrual syndrome, postpartum depression, repetitive miscarriage and infertility.
What message would you like to communicate to people who are not familiar with NaPro Technology?
It is possible [with NaProTechnology] to get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatments for underlying health conditions women face, and to do this in a way that is 100 percent in line with Catholic teaching. You don’t have to pick between faith and science. With NaProTechnology, the woman or couple will be active participants in their own health care, and will be respected and listened to at every step of the journey.
In addition, NaProTechnology is for people of all faiths, and used not just for becoming pregnant or avoiding pregnancy. It is also a valuable resource for women of varying ages who would like solutions to the gynecological issues they face.
What health benefits does it provide?
Because NaProTechnology monitors a woman’s fertility cycles using CrMS, physicians have a unique look into the inner workings of her body and can readily see when her charting patterns deviate from what is normal. These abnormalities in the charting pattern then guide the physician towards the best diagnostic testing for the situation and aid in reaching the correct diagnosis and most effective treatment. NaProTechnology focuses on correcting underlying health conditions as an absolutely crucial step to assisting women and couples. Because of this, we help them not only fulfill their family planning dreams, but improve the woman’s overall health as well.
One case that sticks in my mind is that of a young couple who came to me when they were engaged. The woman indicated that she was unaware of any health issues other than some spotting now and then. They were coming just to learn how to avoid pregnancy. Once they began charting with CrMS, it was quickly apparent that her cycles were far from normal. In the end, her NaPro-trained OB-GYN diagnosed 13 underlying medical conditions, all of which she had previously been unaware of. So even while the couple was using CrMS to avoid pregnancy, her physician was able to use NaProTechnology to begin addressing and healing the 13 conditions.
How is NaPro technology incorporated with your work at the Fertility Care Center?
Our team works with the woman or couple to assist them in learning CrMS. Through private appointments, my colleagues and I provide education and support for their journey. After the woman or couple has a few cycles of charting, physicians trained in NaProTechnology can then use the information from the charts to evaluate, diagnose and treat the underlying health conditions the woman or couple may face.
Why can some people be dismissive of NaProTechnology and natural family planning?
Many people are not educated on the technology itself, and sometimes will dismiss NaProTechnology and natural family planning because they are not yet informed about the scientific accuracy of these systems. In most cases, when we have the opportunity to welcome an individual or couple to one of our introductory sessions (held twice monthly at Saint Joseph Health System Mishawaka Medical Center), we share with them what the system is, how it works and the science behind it. Their misconceptions are then stripped away and they display a genuine openness and interest in learning more.
Why should more women be aware of NaProTechnology?
It’s distressing how little most women know about our bodies and how they work. Charting your cycles changes this. When women understand NaProTechnology, many women feel as if a veil was lifted, and can really understand what is going on for the first time. With this technology, patients can understand how various choices they make can positively or negatively affect their health. They can understand precisely how and when they could become pregnant. They understand the issues that are at the root cause of the conditions, the treatments available and how and why they work. With knowledge comes empowerment.
Additionally, so many times women are only offered hormonal contraception for medical purposes, and this is little more than a Band-Aid, in many cases. It suppresses a woman’s fertility cycles and manipulates them to appear regular. In doing so, however, it masks the real issues and fails to correct them. When the Band-Aid is removed, the issues are still there, unhealed. NaProTechnology, on the other hand, is a cooperative approach to women’s health.
What should men know about NaPro Technology?
The information provided by FertilityCare and NaProTechnology is absolutely pertinent to men. Not only can a man better understand the conditions under which he could become a father, but also because knowledge of a woman’s health helps him understand, support and assist the women in his life — whether that woman is his wife, girlfriend, sister, mother or friend.
To find out more about NaProTechnology and where it’s available in the diocese, visit www.diocesefwsb.org/Natural-Family-Planning or contact the Office of Family Life, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, at 574-234-0687.
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