It seems that for the fertility savvy user (who knows there may be some issues afoot) the doctor dilemma is always looming. We are constantly having discussions on-site with women who are struggling to find a competent, fertility knowledgeable physician. Even though I’m often in the role of helping to find local options for those women, I have now found myself in the same dilemma as many of them and I can’t help but ask: “Why does this have to be so difficult!”
I understand that NaPro Trained doctors are specialists and that often more complicated matters need a specialist for advice. But why does what seems so common sense to those of us who understand even the basics of what healthy fertility looks like, seem so foreign to the medical world around us?
I recently went in for my yearly exam. We moved to this area about a year ago however I haven’t properly establish with a doctor yet. I knew the appointment was a bit of a wild card as the doctor I had heard “good things” about wasn’t available. I scheduled the appointment for Peak + 7, the best day to schedule a progesterone test and hoped I could get the test ordered. I’d been having a Luteal Phase (post ovulation) of only 8 days at most which is much shorter then it should be. Everything else looked normal with my charts so I knew getting my progesterone checked was likely the place to start. On the positive side the doctor I saw didn’t give me a hard time about using NFP, though I also didn’t get the picture that he had any idea about what it was or how it worked. He did talk about him and his wife not needing to postpone pregnancy for any reason so they “didn’t use anything either.” (….ok..)
He agreed to run the labs but prepared me for the fact that he didn’t believe progesterone supplementation was proven to do much of anything in the post ovulation phase, even in times of pregnancy and threatened miscarriage. He gave a couple of personal experiences where women who had high progesterone went on to miscarry but women with “low” progesterone went on to have a healthy pregnancy despite no supplementation. He said unless my results were quite literally nothing, that he would be very hesitant to do anything at all. He did say that if he had a patient who was pregnant and somewhat hysterical he would consider doing the progesterone for her peace of mind. Since we aren’t trying to conceive and I’m not a very hysterical person even in the worst of circumstances I was all but certain no action would be taken regardless of the results.
As I don’t have the time or money to wander from doctor to doctor and I didn’t want to wait another cycle for the test, I had them do the draw. Several days later I got a call from the nurse who was very chipper about my test result of 2.7. She said it was within the doctors acceptable “normal” range of 1.7 – 27 and the doctor was very pleased….can you hear the birds chirping in my stunted silence? For those of you unfamiliar with progesterone testing, a P+7 result qualifying for “normal” should be at least in the 12 – 15 range. This isn’t tough stuff. This SHOULD be basic medicine.
I’m thankful to have NaPro trained docs within an hour of my home. My paperwork is in transit as I type. However, many women are not so lucky. But finding the time in our schedule for my husband to take work off and watch the kids so I can get there, and the money to pay for yet another appointment and likely more testing, seems so unnecessary at this stage. What do we need to do to improve the education of our everyday doctors? Why does med school seem to be so incredibly lacking in truth regarding what a healthy female cycle looks like and what it doesn’t look like? What can we, as patients, do to help our doctors move in the right direction?
I absolutely realize that not all doctors fall into the above stereotype! I’ve had good doctors in the past who knew nothing about charting or NaPro when we met. Several of them respected the knowledge I’d gained over the years and actually did some research into what I was talking about. My last doctor was a wonderfully respectful, low intervention minded man. Our doctor, patient, relationship thrived on our mutual respect and a shared sense of humor. When he finally looked into some of the reading I gave him on NaPro he said it was like a door opening to a whole other world of information that he never knew existed. He was astonished with how little was included in his med school studies. I also realize that doctors are so very busy caring for their patients and their families that time to do research on something they have never heard of is a stretch to say the least.
Have you ever worked with a doctor who didn’t know anything about NFP or NaPro and had a positive outcome? What do you think helped? What would you suggest? Do you think there is a good way to approach the subject with an otherwise uninformed doctor?
I’d love to hear any thoughts on the subject! Maybe we need to work towards a “doctor evangelizing how-to” guide! And while we think on that, let’s not forget to thank (profusely) the physicians we have or know of that work hard and often sacrifice greatly to have practices that uphold natural fertility and seek licit ways to heal those struggling with fertility issues.