By Barbara Savinetti-Rose

NaProTechnology or NaPro, a natural approach to health care that utilizes the Creighton Model FertilityCare system, is fast becoming a popular subject on many blogs and list-serves that focus on infertility and women’s health.

Despite its popularity, few Catholics are aware of the fact that NaPro is being offered in the Greater Philadelphia region.

The FertilityCare Practitioners of Southeast Pa., six independent allied health professionals in private practice, have been assisting women in gaining access to NaPro since 2002. To date, they have serviced over 800 women and couples in the five county region. {{more}}

To better appreciate the work that they do, consider two testimonials:

– “I am very impressed with this system and I think that it is very learnable and useful for every woman. I will recommend this system to all women of all ages in child bearing years.”

– “We also appreciate having a valuable and cost-effective alternative to the main-stream push of the pill. Working with the natural functioning of our bodies- not against it – helps our overall sense of well-being and health.”

NaProTechnology, which is short for natural procreative technology (NPT or NaPro) was developed 30 years ago and attracts many urban, educated women in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The practice of NaPro relies entirely upon information obtained from the client’s observations and charting utilizing a system known as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS).

CrMS began in 1976 from research into the Billings Ovulation Method, a natural family planning method that relied on cervical fluid observations.

The first studies were conducted at St. Louis University School of Medicine but the system adopted its name in 1977 when Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, the principal investigator, moved the research team to Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Neb.

What sets CrMS apart from other natural methods of birth regulation is the standardized language of its charting system and the education of its teachers, referred to as FertilityCare Practitioners.

CrMS relies upon the standardized observation of bleeding patterns, cervical fluid and cycle lengths – referred to as biomarkers – which indicate to the woman if she is ovulating, when she is ovulating and whether the process is normal.

Beyond a method of NFP, the recordings of these biomarkers become a type of diagnostic tool for the specially trained physician. The women are taught how to detect and record these biomarkers and are recommended for treatment when the markers fall outside of an established norm.

The system allows physicians and other advanced practice clinicians to identify the root causes of a wide range of reproductive diseases and conditions.

Once a problem is identified, it is treated with NaPro’s medical and surgical protocols that work cooperatively with the woman’s fertility or menstrual cycle. The woman’s continued charting enables her to be an active participant in her health care.

To learn CrMS, the women first enter a certified program of instruction by attending an introductory session and continue with a series of one-on-one follow-up appointments. In the Philadelphia area, these introductory sessions are free of cost and are listed on the website:

The NaPro approach appeals to women and couples for a variety of reasons. Some women are health conscious and wish to have less chemical and invasive means to plan their families.

Others have environmental concerns and wish to forgo birth control pills with their synthetic estrogens and progesterones that are known to make their way through sewage systems and accumulate in fish and aquatic life.

There are even those couples who are not Catholic who wish to use natural methods of birth regulation for moral or ethical reasons.

Besides assisting women with natural family planning and aiding couples who struggle with infertility, NaPro Technology has protocols to treat conditions such as ovarian cysts, chronic discharges, cycle abnormalities, pelvic pain and dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Research has shown it to be 95 percent effective at treating post-partum depression, a condition that afflicts as many as one in five new mothers, often achieving results within hours.

Barbara Savinetti-Rose, a registered nurse, is part of Love and Life FertilityCare Services of Jenkintown.