We talk a lot about the benefits of Natural Procreative Technology (known as “NaProTechnology,” or simply “NaPro”) here at Natural Womanhood. But if you’re just joining the movement for truly restorative reproductive medicine, you might be a bit unclear about what NaProTechnology really is.
With this latest Natural Womanhood FAQ, we will be diving into all of the details of NaPro, from what it is, to how it’s different from other forms of reproductive medicine, to where you can find a NaProTechnology provider—and everything in between. Let’s get started.
What is NaProTechnology?
Natural Procreative Technology is a women’s health science which has, as its main principle, the ability to work cooperatively with the woman’s menstrual and fertility cycle.
NaProTechnology was developed by Dr. Thomas W. Hilgers, MD at the Saint Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction. NaPro is based on a method of menstrual cycle charting known as the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (or CMFCS, also developed at the Saint Paul VI Institute).
What is the Creighton Model?
The Creighton Model is a medically-backed Fertility Awareness-Based Method (FABM) or method of Natural Family Planning (NFP), which primarily relies on a woman’s cervical mucus sign to chart and interpret her real-time fertility. Together with the Creighton Model of cycle charting, NaProTechnology provides restorative reproductive medicine, which identifies reproductive health problems and cooperates with the menstrual and fertility cycles to correct the condition, maintain the human ecology, and sustain the procreative potential.
What is a NaPro Doctor?
NaPro physicians are board-certified physicians (most often in OB/GYN or Family Medicine) who have been trained and certified by the Saint Paul VI Institute to offer Natural Procreative Technology care to their patients.
Why NaProTechnology? How is it different from mainstream women’s health or reproductive medicine?
Much of mainstream women’s health and reproductive medicine often approaches a woman’s fertility through the use of artificial hormones. Birth-control pills, patch, hormonal IUD, implant, and shot all function to override a woman’s natural reproductive ability in order to prevent pregnancy from occurring. They also mask the symptoms of reproductive disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and various hormonal imbalances.
Rather than cover up the symptoms of these underlying disorders, NaProTechnology works with a woman’s body in order to diagnose and treat the root causes of symptoms like infertility, recurrent miscarriage, heavy and/or painful periods, irregular periods, acne, moodswings, insomnia, depression, anxiety, postpartum depression/anxiety, and more—conditions that go untreated, sometimes for years, when women are placed on birth control.
For more information, check out these articles:
Isn’t NaPro just charting? What exactly does NaPro have to offer?
It is a common misconception that NaProTechnology is just a “fancy” name for charting one’s cycles, but NaPro is much more than charting. While the information gleaned from a woman’s Fertility Awareness-Based Method charts is the essential starting point for diagnosis of any hormonal imbalances or medical conditions, NaPro-trained physicians also utilize imaging technologies (e.g., ultrasounds and x-rays), blood hormone tests, exploratory surgery, and other diagnostic tests to identify underlying reproductive disorders and hormonal imbalances.
In order to treat these disorders (including infertility), NaProTechnology-trained physicians may utilize targeted bioidentical hormone therapy protocols, various surgical procedures, diet and lifestyle changes, and more.
See the following for more information:
Do I have to be charting my cycles to be able to see a NaPro provider?
In order to benefit from the expertise of a NaProTechnology-trained physician, you need to first learn how to chart your menstrual cycles. That does not mean that you cannot see a NaPro physician if you aren’t yet charting; some will do an initial consultation at the outset of treatment in order to train you to chart, or to put you in touch with a trained instructor who can teach you the preferred method of charting (and to perhaps discuss diet and lifestyle changes that may be implemented while learning to chart).
The majority of NaPro physicians strongly prefer (or require) that you chart with the Creighton Model FertilityCare System in order to receive treatment, but some NaPro providers may be able to interpret and utilize charts from other methods. It never hurts to ask!
Find out more here:
Why don’t NaPro providers use common infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), or other features of assisted reproductive technology (ART)?
IVF, IUI, and other forms of assisted reproductive technology do not treat the root causes of infertility. While ART procedures may successfully result in pregnancy, they do nothing to actually address why a pregnancy could not occur naturally in the first place. Because NaPro is restorative reproductive medicine, it aims instead to treat the root causes of infertility—which often benefits the overall health of the woman (and, when applicable, the man, and the couple together).
For more information, check out these articles:
Does NaProTechnology have solutions for unexplained infertility?
Yes. In fact, what’s called “unexplained infertility” often has an explanation—if your doctor knows how to look for it.
Read more here:
Does NaProTechnology cure infertility?
While many couples have been successfully treated with NaProTechnology and have eventually conceived a child/children, it is not a silver bullet for everyone struggling with infertility. For some causes of infertility, NaPro may not be able to provide a solution.
According to a study published in 2008, NaProTechnology “provided by trained general practitioners had live birth rates comparable to cohort studies of more invasive treatments, including ART.”
Is NaPro Technology expensive?
NaProTechnology physicians often accept traditional insurance options, and many NaPro treatments and procedures are covered by insurance, since they are treatments related to the woman’s overall health. Many NaPro providers also offer payment plans for their services. NaProTechnology infertility treatment is often a small fraction of the average cost of ART treatments—at comparable (or better) rates of effectiveness.
For more reading, check out:
Where can I find a NaPro provider?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restorative health medical professionals are available to visit via telehealth.