Natural Family Planning & More with Monica Rincon, NFP Certified Health Professional
From an interview with Monica Rincon, Fertility Awareness Instructor on September 9, 2020. Schedule a consultation with Monica right through your Premom app!
I'm really excited about this first spotlight because we've been working with Monica for many months now. She's been a big part of Premom and the money-back guarantee. She's one of the consultants you can work with as part of the guarantee or if you just want a consultant at any time, during your fertility journey, she's available. We want to learn a little bit more about you so that our users know who you are and what you're doing with us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your educational background, your experience?
Thank you so much for inviting me today. Again, my name is Monica Rincon. I've been in the field of natural family planning, helping couples to achieve and postpone pregnancy naturally, just following biomarkers. LH is a type of biomarker that can help women to determine when their fertile days are. I've been 20 years in this journey helping couples and women that are not married, but they want to understand how fertility works. Actually they want to be advocates of their own health, to tell when they ovulate is a science of health, not only because you're postponing or you're achieving pregnancy. I received my bachelor's in science with a major in laboratory techniques. After that I did a master's in macrobiology; my bachelor's and my master's are from Columbia. Then I traveled to the United States and worked with a family health department laboratory in San Diego for six years and moved to Canada. And continued working always in natural family planning. I just finished a master's at the University of Calgary to update my credentials, as well I am a certified ovulation method teacher, Marquette, in FEMM, finishing the accreditation with FEMM. I don't know how many couples have been taught through these years. But for me it is a very rewarding experience to empower couples, some women.
Quite a background! We're really excited that you added that FEMM training. I also just wanted to mention that you speak Spanish and hopefully we can take more advantage of that. We have a Spanish TTC group. I love that you are continuing to learn -- you've written a lot of blogs for us, and you've done medical reviews of the blogs that we've written. Those of you out there watching this, be sure to check out Monica's blogs on premom.com. There's a lot of great information in there. Why did you choose to work with Premom?
I was finishing the Marquette method training to be a teacher, and through the colleagues and nurses and one of the directors of the Institute of Natural Family Planning College of Nursing of Marquette University, she sent to all of us this great opportunity, and she said you already are certified, you have your hours of teaching. "Why don't you apply if you want?" So I did it, and sure enough, here I am since probably October or November of last year. It's going to be almost one year with you guys, and thank you so much for this opportunity.
Wow, already! You're teaching so much. You teach through your consultations; you teach outside of the consultation.
Yeah, my private practice as well. I want to reach even teenagers to teach them fertility awareness. That is very important because for the medicine background that I have, we have seen that when women can identify when they ovulate, this is a sign of health because it means that the metabolic, endocrine and reproductive hormones are working optimally, and that's what we need. We need to see fertility as a gift, not as something we do not need to be aware of. It is part of being a woman, and it is easy for women to determine their fertility because we cycle with our menstrual cycle, similar to the moon changes. It says something natural in the environment. Women have different steps in every menstrual cycle. So, it is important to empower women when the signs are healthy -- and when they are not -- and they can find answers for what they are feeling, seeing. And they know in the deep of their heart that something is not right, is not optimal. That's what I like to do.
I love that. That one answer you gave there was so compact. I love that you talk about educating teenagers because -- I don't know if it's different now -- but back when I was in school, I didn't learn any of this stuff. I learned it all through this job. I love that you talk about -- I think you said with FEMM -- they're all about learning about your health, no matter what you're deciding to do with your fertility, and how useful your fertility cycle is to your health. I know I talked with you once about how I had just published one of your blogs -- so I had been in the content a lot -- and I was looking at my own fertility and what was happening, and I was like "Wow, yeah, I'm definitely stressed!" So helpful to know what's going on with your body and what's normal, and what that's telling you about what's going on in your life and giving you those warnings. Your body's telling you what you need to be doing. It's just another way; it's really awesome.
Yeah, we are our bodies, and we need to learn to understand how they work and to receive fertility as a gift. Not something that we need to be ashamed of or something like that, we just use it because we want to get pregnant -- no! It's part of us and that's what I like to do. I don't treat; I don't do diagnosis, but I teach. And that's what is the most important for me is to tell women that this is what is happening. This is how you learn, and when you incorporate fertility as a part of your day, it is like brushing your teeth. Now I'm going to take my LH, or how do I feel? Do I feel moist? Or maybe yes, and maybe I'm fertile -- or I feel dry. You know, I'm having premenstrual syndrome; you know, I can talk to my doctor. So, they advocate for themselves, in order that they make their lives easier and more enjoyable, and more healthy, in terms of endocrine and reproductive and metabolic choices that they need to have.
That's very empowering, which I know is very important to us. Premom is putting the tools in the hands of our users, so that they can have their best experience and take control of their fertility. We talk about that a lot -- taking control of your own fertility. That's pretty awesome. Can you tell us a little bit more about what you specialize in or who you enjoy working with in particular?
Most of the patients that I work with are couples and most of them are postponing pregnancy naturally. So, they need to learn when they are the most fertile. They can make a decision if they want to postpone or achieve pregnancy. But they are totally in unity as husband and wife. In my private practice I have as well couples that want to conceive, and they are having struggles, so I teach them what is the best time -- because even if you have sexual contact or sexual intercourse, if it's during the times that you are not fertile . . . it's very hard to get pregnant. So first I teach them that when is the most fertile time, and after that, if it's not happening after three, six months, knowing exactly the days that are correct -- definitely if I see something on the charts, in the way that the curves are showing, temperature, mucus, all these kinds of biomarkers that tell us if our fertility is optimal -- I definitely advocate for them with their family doctors to have tests to have more research, trying to see what is going on exactly. It could be metabolic, it could be sugar, it could be insulin, it could be testosterone, it could be anything, even thyroid. What we want to do is to correct the baseline problem, not only to treat the symptom like acne or premenstrual syndrome, just to correct what is the baseline and later, once their fertility is again optimum, they can achieve pregnancy. When they need to go to an OBGYN, what are the types of tests that we like that they will have. . . that's what I always try to do with my couples that are trying to achieve pregnancy.
Wonderful. I love how you touched on both there. I know Premom focuses mainly right now on trying to conceive, but we are looking to have a trying to avoid mode as well. Couples are going to experience both of those, likely, in their lifetime, even between babies. That's great that you have that background. Can you tell us just about NFP a little more? A brief history of NFP and how ovulation testing fits into that?
Natural family planning started with what we call the rhythm method, but we know that it only works for women that have regular cycles. In 1956, two doctors, Dr. Evelyn and Maria Billings, started looking at how the menstrual cycle occurs. They found exactly how women are cycling: they have mucus that is produced because of the effect of estrogen. After estrogen has risen up and created a raw egg white type mucus, they noticed that ovulation was going to be occurring in the next three days. Based on that they developed this method to postpone pregnancy, mainly. It was launched in a very important journal in 1963. After that, there have been other studies based on this method, the cervical mucus or Billing's ovulation method. Since the 1980s we now have all these technologies, like monitors that allow you to test estrogen and LH and now you have LH strips like the ones from Premom and easy@Home that are very accurate to tell you about LH, which is the hormone that predicts ovulation. It is telling you that you're soon going to release the egg. Women, most of the time 99.9%, will release one egg every cycle. This hormone LH is going to allow you to pinpoint when in the next 24, 36 hours your ovulation is going to occur. That's the good thing about having tests at home like Premom and easy@Home to advocate for yourself and say "Okay, this is working with the temperature." We teach women to empower themselves in knowing their fertility. Natural family planning is a method to postpone or achieve pregnancy naturally based on biomarkers. We don't use any other kind of contraception to postpone pregnancy, just only determine when your fertile window is. If you're postponing you have to abstain those days. If you're achieving, you use those days, and in the fertile phases of the cycle -- the LH and all these that is positive, the mucus, they have intercourse during those days. That is what is natural family planning.
Wonderful. We're really excited to work with you and other NFP professionals because you do work so much with those biomarkers, and you have that chart experience. You're just a natural fit with Premom that focuses on the ovulation tests, on the charting, on looking at the ovulation test, the BBT, cervical mucus -- all in one place. That's wonderful. Can you tell us -- to close up here -- a little bit about what someone who has a consultation with you can expect from a consultation, and maybe some testimonials of what people have shared with their experiences with you?
With the consultation, I have access to see their charts, and Premom has an algorithm, something that already tells me this is the cycle, this is the length of days after ovulation. When I have received the notification of the consultation, I already have a lot of information about their cycles. I can look at the LH, the BBT, the cervical mucus, when they have -- and if they have -- focused intercourse in the fertile window. After that, I always ask them how I can serve them better. What are their concerns? What exactly do they need? It is nice when they book an appointment, they can send us a message saying: "This is all my concern, this is all my history." So, we can use this 30 minutes of consultation the best we can. After that, if they have been trying for a couple more months and are in the guarantee program -- that is more than six, seven cycles, and they already have some kind of concern or frustration -- what is going to happen, I like to ask a lot of questions about what could be, and depending on what they exactly need, some of them need something that will create a better egg -- or we have Dr. Haebe that she's really good at supplements, she's a naturopathic doctor that really knows how to do supplements. I really recommend not taking any kind of supplements until a doctor or a naturopath is really telling you that you need it. Based on labs -- we like that they share the labs as well, anything that they have, they have been done -- some of these women already have all their fertility treatment, but since COVID-19, they cannot come back, so we can try to help them as well. We have Dr. Owen, who is a family doctor. He's a restorative reproductive doctor. He wants to restore your reproductive health and understand why you're not conceiving. I tried to answer the questions that they have given and give in the message a plan: "This is going to be the plan." For example, if they know exactly one of the most fertile days I say, "Okay, you're going to try with this, what I'm telling you for three to six months, but if it doesn't happen, you have to go back, because we want to follow up." These consultations are not just a consultation; we really want that these women, if they have any reproductive problem, that they have their optimal health return, and they can achieve -- or they look with their family doctors, they can advocate for themselves and say, "I'm doing this; you can see through this app that I'm doing the LH, I'm doing the temperature, I'm doing the mucus. I wonder if you could send me a panel because I already have been trying for six months or one year," which is the minimum time that a couple has to be trying to conceive and without achieving pregnancy. Family doctors will investigate what is the problem or send them to a fertility clinic.
That's so wonderful that you help them through that process so that they're completely informed and have the information if they need to go to a specialist or go that one step further. What is some feedback that you've gotten from the consultations you've had so far? Have they talked about any changes or information they've learned?
They are very grateful. Some of them just need someone to listen to them because they are struggling. Women feel very frustrated, they feel shame that they are not conceiving. They don't know what is wrong with them. Women suffer from emotion and distress because they are not conceiving. Sometimes I know that I just need to listen to them telling me exactly what they're going through. It's good for them because we're women, we're social, we need each other. Sometimes just listening to them and later talking with what they can do and empower that they are doing the right thing, it's just enough for them at this point. Some of them really know everything, but they just need someone to listen. If I see that stress could be a cause, we try to use what Premom has as a partner with Organic Conceptions. I have some of them that have been going through that, and they are very happy. I like to share that. Mark, he has really good YouTube videos that share experiences, personal experiences with other clients in Organic Conceptions that is good for them. When I see that there's a real problem, more than one year/one year-and-a-half trying and they're not getting pregnant, immediately we go to their family doctors, sending a letter telling the family doctor exactly what she's doing. She's using these links of Premom -- that is what they're doing, and doing the LH. I ask them to please have this hormone panel. We have cases that already are going through under treatment, hopefully in three to six months they can get pregnant.
Premom is doing a really good job in helping and empowering women, not only being able to see the LH is positive, but you can go beyond that. Beyond that test there's a human being. There's a couple that is struggling, a woman that wants to know their fertility. Since technology now is so available, we can get united with these Facebook groups, with Premom's app, with doctors, consultations, and even emotional programs like Organic Conceptions. I think we have to create kind of a web in order to work together for the good of the people and couples that want to have a baby.
That's so beautiful. Thank you, you just did such a great wrap up for me! And we do hope to have Monica on again soon to talk more about a topic. Thank you so much for joining us today, Monica. If you would like to work with Monica, you can find her right in the Premom app. And we're so excited to share Monica with you as our first spotlight. Thank you again, Monica!