A Moscow woman, trained in the Creighton Method of Fertility Care, says the Natural Family Planning method perfectly fits her philosophy of medicine and faith.
The following story appeared in the January 27 Idaho Catholic Register.
Monica Eggleston and her husband, Mark Houghton
By Emily Woodham
Monica Eggleston is a family practice and functional medicine nurse practitioner who is passionate about her Catholic faith and providing holistic medical care, which includes Natural Family Planning (NFP) for couples who want to plan their families without using contraception.
The Catholic Church upholds that human life is sacred and begins at conception (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270). This view of human life and its inherent dignity affects the Church’s teachings on marriage, family and community, including its teachings on family planning. The website for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops states: “The Catholic Church supports the methods of Natural Family Planning (NFP) because they respect God’s design for married love.”
NFP methods vary. In general, they are based on a woman’s fertility cycle. Depending on the method, a woman charts different signs and symptoms of fertility to determine fertile and infertile days in her cycle. Through prayer and discussion, couples discern whether they should achieve or avoid pregnancy.
A few years ago, Eggleston re-discovered an NFP method called the “Creighton Model of Fertility Care.” The research of its co-founder, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, M.D., was a perfect fit for her philosophy of medicine and faith.
The Creighton Model is all about health and healing, Eggleston said.
“Dr. Hilgers says that gynecologic care has been so focused on abortion, sterilization and contraception that it lost the focus on actual health and healing and preserving the reproductive potential,” said Eggleston, a parishioner at St. Augustine’s Parish in Moscow.
Eggleston works for Palouse Care Network, one of several pregnancy re-source centers throughout the state that offer alternatives to abortion. She also works at WISH Medical in Moscow, which offers resources to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
“Dr. Hilgers was in medical school when Humanae vitae came out, and his work was basically a response to that,” said Eggleston.
Humanae vitae is an encyclical written by Pope St. Paul VI in 1968, in which he upheld the Church’s teaching on sexuality and the problems of contraception. Hilgers investigated the Billings ovulation method of NFP and from there developed his Creighton Model.
With financial support in part from the Diocese of Boise’s Office of Marriage and Family Life, Eggleston was able to finish her training as a Creighton Model Medical Consultant in April of this year. To become a consultant, a medical practitioner needs to attend two nine-day courses in Omaha and complete several other training requirements.
Since she began offering classes in the Creighton Model System in November of 2021, 21 women and couples have been taught this method for fertility care that can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy and monitor reproductive health in a manner consistent with Church teaching. Even though the classes promote the Catholic view, they are open to all women. More classes are being scheduled, she said.
According to its website, creightonmodel.com, the model uses a chart with a number of physical metrics to determine patterns of reproductive health. The method’s effectiveness is about 99.5 percent for avoiding pregnancy and 96.8 percent for achieving pregnancy in couples of normal fertility. It also has effective applications for couples with infertility.
Eggleston’s training in functional medicine primed her as well to learn NaPro Natural Procreative Technology.
“NaPro looks at the root causes of health problems, not just treating symptoms,” she said. NaPro stems from the Creighton Model, and helps diagnose and treat fertility problems and many other female health concerns, including abnormal bleeding, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and PMS (premenstrual syndrome), she said.
Eggleston began offering NaPro services in May of this year. “I have begun working with several couples with infertility, one who is now currently in her first trimester of pregnancy, praise God!”
She has used NaPro protocols for progesterone support in pregnancy for women who have previously miscarried, who have PCOS and other reproductive health issues, and to treat women with postpartum depression.
“We currently have a short waiting list for NaPro services, but will always work to quickly accommodate women who are pregnant or experiencing postpartum depression, due to the potential urgency of those situations,” she said.
Currently, she is the only Creighton medical consultant using NaPro Technology in Idaho, although there are others who can see Idaho patients virtually.
A nurse at Palouse Care Network also started the Creighton training in October. She and Eggleston can both teach the charting. With her medical consultant training, Eggleston can also provide the medical NaPro applications.
“The Creighton Model is very professional, very standardized,” she said. “It’s a lot of hard work and study, but the results of using Creighton and NaPro have been positive.”
“Here at Palouse Care Network and WISH Medical, we are blessed to work and live in very generous faith, business, and medical communities, many of whose members support our services, and without whom we could not operate the way that we do,” she said.
Some of the services at the centers have fees, but the centers depend primarily on donations. In addition to the specialized care offered by Eggleston, the clinics offer other reproductive medical care, free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, and social support, including sexual trauma support, pornography addiction recovery and post-abortion recovery, post-miscarriage support, parenting and relationship classes.
Eggleston is appreciate of the sup-port the Diocese of Boise provided for her training. “There are many couples who are trying to follow the teachings of the Church and their conscience, and they need to know that there are effective tools that can help them,” she said.
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