[Editor’s Note]: This story has been edited due to a misleading quote. The substance and message remains the same.]
By Ellen Petersen, The Circuit.
The Benedictine College Student Nurses Association, BCSNA, hosted a lecture given by Teresa Kenney, a NaPro Technology Nurse Practitioner, titled “Hormones and Your Health” on Oct. 25.
Kenney, a Catholic, works at the Pope Paul VI Institute’s National Center for Women’s Health in Omaha, NE.
NaPro Technology, short for Natural Procreation Technology, is based on the Creighton Model, a form of natural family planning that observes a woman’s biological markers with regards to her fertility.
In her lecture, Kenney focused on discussing two things she feels women should know: how to study their own fertility and the risks of birth control.
In her work, Kenney has found that few women have a proper understanding of their reproductive health and fertility.
Kenney says that NaPro and other fertility awareness based methods are the most natural and effective way for a woman to maintain her health and either avoid or achieve pregnancy. Studies also found that couples practicing natural family planning are much less likely to end in divorce, in some cases, as low as 5 percent, due to the important conversations and communication skills required for natural family planning.
It also includes other benefits.
It is medically safe, comparatively inexpensive, it empowers women and works to identify any underlying health problems, she said.
“It provides individualized care; it is not ‘one size fits all.’”
According to Kenney, NaPro and fertility awareness based methods are more effective than artificial hormones at either achieving or avoiding pregnancy, while also maintaining the natural health of the woman.
“A woman’s hormones are like a harmonious symphony,” she said. “[Birth control] masks over the entire reproductive system. It works to create a pseudo-pregnancy.”
Essentially, Kenney said, birth control completely shuts down your reproductive cycle, for weeks, months and even years at a time.
“The pill is considered a carcinogen by the agency on research for cancer, classified as a group 1 carcinogen, the same as asbestos and cigarettes,” she said.
Senior Rachel Clark, a member of the BCSNA, organized the lecture.
Both before and after the lecture, Clark and her colleagues handed out surveys to gather information for her Discovery Day Project.
The project is also working being worked on by nursing students Anna Jacobs, Sydney Wolf and Ann Marie Guernsey.
“I wanted to do this because NaPro Technology is a field of medicine that allows Catholic women to understand their reproductive health and actually treats underlying problems,” Clark said.
Clark became interested in NaPro Technology after being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a condition that affects over 10 percent of women, in her freshman year of college.
“No one could tell me what was wrong,” she said. “I was merely offered the birth control pill. As a young woman and nursing student, I found it infuriating that the medical field within women’s health lacks a basic understanding of what is normal, what is abnormal and how to actually treat hormonal problems.”
“After I discovered and was treated with NaPro Technology, my state of health and quality of life radically improved.”
Clark is now focusing her studies on women’s health, specifically NaPro Technology, and spent last summer shadowing at the Pope Paul VI Institute where NaPro was founded.
The event itself was well attended, with nearly the whole of O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium filled with Benedictine College women.
Prizes were raffled off and included gift cards, an Apple Watch and a Patagonia sweatshirt.
Before leaving, Kenney recommended any women with questions speak to Bekah Firestine, an on-campus FertilityCare Practioner Intern.
Firestine is available to help women understand and use the Creighton Model FertilityCare System to track their fertility.
For those looking for more information, Kenney recommended several websites and books.
• Theology of the Body Institute
• Vitae Foundation
• Sancta Familia
• National Catholic Bioethics Center
• Women Speak for Themselves
• NaPro Technology Revolution by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers
• The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaPro Technology by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers
For more information on the project, contact Rachael Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bekah Firestine at email@example.com.