NaProTechnology at The Gianna Center for Women

This video sums up the Creighton Model System and it’s applications through NaProTechnology beautifully. This video was commissioned by the Respect Life Office of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

At Nutmeg FertilityCare we are pleased to have a practice agreement with Dr. Nolte of The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility along with two other NaPro trained physicians. This allows our clients access to the latest and best possible care.

National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility

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Chastity during Marriage and the Honeymoon Effect

If you practice the Creighton Model within a marriage and you are avoiding pregnancy, you know that periods of abstinence are required during times of fertility.  “Wow,” is often a couple’s first reaction.  “You mean there are times when we can’t have intercourse?”

That’s correct!  If you and your husband are seriously avoiding pregnancy, and if you are committed to practicing NFP, you must avoid any genital contact on the days of fertility in the woman’s cycle. On those fertile days, any genital contact may result in pregnancy.  It’s always a couple’s choice whether to refrain from genital activity on days of fertility or to engage in intercourse.  But if your decision on any given day is to avoid pregnancy, then all genital activity must be avoided.

This period of abstinence, however, is rarely a burden.  In fact, many couples tell us that periodic times of chastity actually increase their love, their passion and their devotion to one another.  The Creighton Model calls this “the honeymoon effect.”  Are we crazy?!

Not at all!  Philosophers from the “stoic” era realized that when we give something up, even for a short time, that “something” takes on even more value and gives more pleasure when we return to it.  And happily, the same applies to giving up genital activity for proscribed periods of time.  Read what Eric Baker wrote, and consider chastity a gift:

 Denying yourself something makes you appreciate the things you take for granted.

Ancient advice? Yeah, it sounds like something my grandfather would have said. But science agrees wholeheartedly.  Harvard professor Michael Norton writes that a bit of self-denial is a huge happiness booster: ” …if you love, every day, having the same coffee, don’t have it for a few days. Once you have it again, it’s going to be way more amazing than all of the ones that you would have had in the meantime… It’s not ‘give it up forever.’ It’s ‘Give it up for short periods of time, and I promise you you’re going to love it even more when you come back to it.”  Making the things you take for granted into “a treat” is something the ancients and scientists agree on. [Eric Barker from “Barking up the Wrong Tree” published online at “The Week”]

Abstinence during marriage is not a curse but a gift and a joy.  There will always be times when chastity is not a choice—for example, during illness, after the birth of a baby and during periods of separation.  Abstinence, chosen or secondary to life circumstances, allows us time to focus on our partner, who he or she really is intellectually and emotionally.  It allows us to step back from our passion but not from our love and devotion.  It allows us to be fully present without expecting anything in return.

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Fertility and Lubricants

Many women are not aware that most sexual lubricants can impair their fertility . Obviously, your standard lubricant is not a “spermicide” in the truest sense of the word and should never be used to try to prevent a pregnancy,  but for couples struggling to achieve a pregnancy it can make a difference in their ability to conceive. This is because most lubricants are intended to not disrupt the natural conditions of the vagina.

The vagina normally has a pH of 3.8 to 4.2, anything over a pH of 4.5 can indicate a vaginal infection. This acidic pH is maintained by healthy bacteria that live in the vagina and produce acidic secretions. When the vagina has a low, or acidic, pH it is less susceptible to developing an infection. Being that this acidic condition is normal when a woman is healthy, many spermicides have pH’s that are acidic to more closely match the woman’s own body. Which brings us to our first point about lubricants and fertility. Seminal fluid has a pH of about 8.1, it is very basic and sperm cannot survive in acidic conditions. At the time of fertility the woman’s cervix begins to produce cervical fluid that has a similar basic pH, allowing for sperm survival only when the woman is fertile. Thus, if a couple was using an acidic sexual lubricant around the time of fertility they would be exposing the sperm to a very acidic solution that could increase the number of sperm killed.

The other factor to consider when looking at lubricants is what they look like on a microscopic level. At the time of fertility the cervix begins to secrete what is know as Type E mucus. This Type E mucus forms little microscopic channels that allow healthy sperm to quickly swim through the cervix, while preventing abnormal sperm from making their way through. Many lubricants do not allow for easy sperm penetration, in other words, the sperm have difficulty swimming through the lubricant.

So what’s a Creighton Model user to do? On days of infertility, use whatever lubricant you prefer, this is also true if you use a small amount of lubricant to help insert tampons, or vaginal medications. Water soluble lubricants are best.  For times of fertility, we recommend the use of a sexual lubricant called PreSeed. The characteristics of PreSeed allow for greater sperm survival and sperm penetration through the lubricant. PreSeed can be used with or without an applicator and can be purchased on-line or at some pharmacies.

 

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Put Some SPICE in Your Life!

In all relationships there will be times when a couple will choose or need to avoid genital activity. Some examples of such times can include when a woman has her menses, illness, pelvic rest during pregnancy, after childbirth, when traveling etc. Couples using natural methods of family planning like the Creighton Model FertilityCare System may also choose to avoid genital activity on days of fertility if they wish to avoid a pregnancy.

The Creighton Model System is a holistic system that recognizes that the sexuality of a woman is more than just what is going on in her ovaries; it involves all of her relationships, none more so than the relationship with her spouse. That is why it is so important that during times when genital activity is not possible for whatever reason, the couple has recourse to other forms of intimacy that ultimately strengthen their bond and deepen their relationship.

Below is the content of an educational handout we provide to our clients to help them seek out the SPICE in their own relationships.

SPICE stands for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Communicative (or Creative) and Emotional ways of showing love and affection without genital contact.  During the days that you choose to avoid genital contact, don’t avoid each other!  Instead, plan SPICE activities in order to enhance your relationship.

Make a SPICE List:

  • Make a list of ten non-genital activities that you enjoy—think loving and fun!
  • Swap lists and talk about the activities.  Are there interests and activities that appeal to you both?
  • Make a plan to do some of these activities.  For more spontaneity, write the individual activities on strips of paper and put the strips in a “SPICE jar.”  When you’re ready to have some SPICE fun, pull out a strip and do that activity.

Plan a Date Night:

  • Make a “date” with your loved one.  This might be something as casual as going for a walk or as special as getting dressed up and going out to eat.  The important thing is to make a date—a day and a time—and stick to it.  Unless there’s an emergency, don’t let anything keep you from your plans.
  • Take turns deciding what “date night” might be, this way both of you have a chance to plan a special evening.  You can also plan a “surprise” date night.
  • Date night can also be “date day” or “date weekend,” but the most important thing is to make “date night” a regular event.

Plan a Talk Night:

  • Get comfortable, settle in, get something to eat or drink, cuddle together on the couch and talk about what’s going on in your lives.
  • Your chat can be about external things:  what’s happening at work, at home, in the news, with your friends, in your church, or in the world.  Just talk.  Turn off the TV, turn off the computer, put away the newspaper, and chat.
  • If the conversation turns deep and emotional, that’s okay too.  Sharing personal feelings about what’s going on in your lives or in our world will bring your relationship to a deeper and more intimate level.

Play “Do You Know This About Me?”

  • Make a list of five or more things you don’t think your loved one knows about you.  Does he (she) know that you always wanted to play the cello but never had the chance?  Or that when you were ten you got lost while you were on a camping trip?  Or that your favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip?
  • After you’ve both made your lists, take turns revealing, one by one, those things you think your loved one doesn’t know.  Take some time and talk about each item; don’t simply rush through the list.
  • You can also play “Do you know this about me” as a quiz.  Take your items, one by one, and take turns asking each other, for example, “Do you know what instrument I always wanted to play?”

Play “This Is What I Love about You”

  • Sit down facing each other.  Taking turns, say out loud what you love about the other.  Don’t write down or plan your comments ahead of time.  You can be serious or silly, but stick to what you love (not what you’d like to change!).
  • These things can be physical (“I love the color of your eyes” or “I love how you laugh”).
  • They can be emotional (“I love how you always comfort me when I’m upset).
  • They can be personal characteristics (“I love how you’re so organized”).
  • They can be experiences you’ve shared (“I loved when we went sled riding last winter”)

Use Your Imagination:

  • Not all couples are alike in how they show non-genital affection.  As a couple, talk about what feels “right” to each of you, and how you as individuals and as a couple can maintain and enhance your relationship during those times when you are avoiding genital contact.
  • Write your ideas down.  Talking about how you might find ways to express love and affection without genital contact and then putting those ideas into action will deeper your regard and respect for one another and improve your communication.
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Congratulations to our very own, Cortney Davis!

Cortney Davis, APRN, CFCP, was awarded the 2012 Reverend Donald O’Leary Culture of Life Award. The award, given to Cortney as the responsible practitioner for Nutmeg FertilityCare, was presented at the annual Connecticut Right to Life Corporation Convention held in Cromwell, CT. on May 12. The award recognized Cortney and all the practitioners of Nutmeg FertilityCare for their work in bringing the Creighton Model to women and couples throughout CT.

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Staff Meeting

The practitioners of Nutmeg FertilityCare meet quarterly to review the latest updates in women’s health, to present complex cases, discuss ways to improve the care we are able to provide, and for continuing education.

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Welcome Alexandra!

Nutmeg FertilityCare is pleased to announce that Alexandra McLaughlin, FCP has recently joined Nutmeg FertilityCare. Alexandra sees clients in Norwalk, CT and brings years of professional and personal experience to our group. Learn more about Alexandra by clicking on her bio page.

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