A while ago I wrote a post about NFP. I still stand by the awesomeness of the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and the website fertilityfriend. In that post, I mentioned that we may try the Creighton Model. We decided to do it about two months ago, and I am really happy we did; I am definitely a convert to this method! If you live in the Northern Virginia area, look at Potomac Fertility.
The two major benefits I see to the Creighton Model over the sympto-thermal method are the focus on mucous alone and the personalized approach to learning. I always found the temperature to be an issue with the sympto-thermal method. If you drink alcohol, your temperature changes, if you do not get a good night’s sleep, your temperature is affected, if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, your temperature changes, etc, etc. How can you chart effectively if your temperature is impacted in so many ways??? So, I took the advice of my friend and ditched the thermometer in favor of mucous and internal cervix checks. This is effective, but can be difficult to read. The Creighton Model takes all the difficulty out of that – or at least in my opinion it does! For starters, there are no internal checks, so you do not have to worry about figuring out what your cervix is doing as it shifts position throughout the day. The Creighton Model only looks at external mucous. The sympto-thermal method allows you to write your own mucous descriptions – there are guidelines, but it is all very subjective and you use your own words. This seems good in theory, but how do you know that what you considered stretchy last month is what you are seeing right now? You don’t! The Creighton Model has very specific rules about charting your mucous, so you know exactly what to write down. Obviously, it is subjective in that you are doing the checks, but if your mucous stretches ‘x’ amount, you write down ‘y’ and there is no question about that. I find this specific nomenclature very reassuring. Also, unlike every other natural family planning resource I looked at, the Creighton Model has very specific rules for determining fertility while breastfeeding that can be applied no matter how you breastfeed - ecologically, on a schedule, pumping, etc. This is huge and I cannot wait to see how that goes...when we get pregnant again...in a couple years...no time soon :)
My favorite thing about the Creighton Model is the individualized approach. You have a Creighton Model teacher, who you meet with regularly. At first, it is every few weeks/once a month, and then you go longer periods between meetings for the rest of the year. At each meeting, the teacher goes through a booklet of questions, quizzing you on how/when you are checking, how you are using the stamps (they are used to show periods of fertility/infertility), and makes notes on things you know 100% and things you are still learning. At the next meeting, the teacher will review the things you were not 100% about last time to ensure you are 100% confident in your use of the Creighton Model. Then, the teacher goes through your chart, asking about your notations, marking it up with a red pen where you put a stamp incorrectly or forgot to record something. To ensure you know how to use the nomenclature properly, the teacher brings along a “Picture Dictionary”, which may seem like TMI, but really, when it comes to charting your fertility, is there such thing? This is super helpful! I reviewed it the first time, and then kept that in my mind to help with the charting. During our second appointment, I was able to use the picture dictionary to look for a mucous reading similar to a confusing one I had. It was a great reference. So far, I found the method to be easy to learn and I feel very confident in our use. I would recommend this to anyone. Again, we use Potomac Fertility in the Northern VA area.