Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Natural Family Planning Should Be Part Of Personal Health And Well-being

By Eric Girten, Special To The Message

Over the past several decades, we have seen a greater emphasis on personal health and well-being. From eating locally grown, healthy foods to incorporating exercise into our increasingly busy lives, we are more aware of the connection between the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional states that make up the entire person.

            In my career, I have had the pleasure of working with many great organizations locally, regionally and nationally on projects that have focused on the health of the whole person. However, it wasn’t until fairly recently (in my new role with the Diocese of Evansville) that I realized how well natural fertility awareness, or natural family planning, fits into this category of health and well-being.

Natural Family Planning week begins July 22. I hope that couples of all ages and stages of their marriage will take this opportunity to learn more about natural fertility awareness/natural family planning. It is gaining mainstream traction, and the reasons are clear.

            As the son of a wonderful mother, a brother of a wonderful sister, the husband of a wonderful wife, and now the father of a wonderful daughter (you get the idea), I want the best health options for the women in my life. In the area of reproduction and family planning, NFP takes the trophy. By knowing the wife’s unique reproductive cycle, husband and wife create a greater awareness of, and responsibility for, the reproductive and generative aspect of their relationship. There are no drugs, devices or surgical procedures involved with natural fertility awareness. I think it is important for couples to know that Estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives are considered Group 1: Carcinogens ( and that there are very effective, natural alternatives out there.

            Due to personal circumstances, it may be necessary for couples to space their children (prevent pregnancy). Fertility awareness and natural family planning help couples with this, as well as helping these same couples conceive when the time is right through a greater awareness of their reproductive systems.

            Not only does NFP help with the physical aspects of starting or growing a family, but it also creates opportunities for the couple to increase communication and emotional bonding, which are necessary aspects of any relationship. Given its seemingly positive impact on marriages (and given the positive ripple effects positive marriages have on society), I wish more funders in the health and wellness field would focus on increasing awareness and training of NFP and fertility awareness.

            Natural Fertility Awareness/Natural Family Planning has proven collectively to be an effective, natural and healthy alternative to contraceptives. There is a lot of information out there to inform couples – and misinform them as well. The key is for couples to inform themselves and make appropriate decisions based on the information they gather. The Diocese of Evansville collaborates with the Holy Family Center for Life, which offers NFP instruction in several locations in the Diocese (Evansville, Jasper, Fort Branch). Feel free to call them at 812-421-2030 or visit for more information.

I am always happy to provide further information. Feel free to email me at

Eric Girten is the Coordinator of Family and Life Programs for the Diocese of Evansville.