The beginning of a new year often prompts the making of resolutions regarding lifestyle. Some will decide to exercise more or to eat better.

Nowadays healthier lifestyle choices are encouraged: a diet rich in whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, low in saturated fat. Unhealthy habits are discouraged: poor diet, inactivity, smoking, excessive drinking.

An important part of a healthy lifestyle also includes making good choices regarding birth regulation.

Moral considerations aside, Natural Family Planning, or NFP, is very healthy. It is a highly effective method of birth regulation, and it also poses no physical side effects. In my experience, NFP fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of the couple’s combined natural gift of fertility. There are no pills or chemicals to harm a woman’s delicate system. There are no devices or operations for either man or woman.

Other methods, however, are not so health-inducing.

Each prescription for chemical contraception (Pill, patch, vaginal ring, injectables) includes an extensive insert outlining the numerous possible physical side effects: an increased risk of weight gain, mood swings, headaches, breast cancer, heart attack, stroke and blood clots. Vasectomy comes with an increased risk of prostate cancer and dementia. Women who undergo a tubal ligation have a higher risk of chronic pain and hysterectomy.

For those who are especially concerned with the health of the environment, chemical contraception is a likely culprit in contributing to the feminization of male fish. Although chemical contraception isn’t the only cause, the following link includes more detail on chemical contraception’s effect on fish:

A new year can be an opportune time to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. It’s also a great time to learn NFP.

My husband, James, and I are certified NFP teachers and we even teach NFP online. For more information on NFP, check out my previous column entitled, NFP Q & A or email me at info(at)

Text copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach