Editor’s Note: The FACTS speaker program has been an effective way to educate medical professionals about the science behind fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) of family planning. Since our first training in 2013, we have equipped almost a hundred speakers to share the FACTS in their training programs, hospitals, clinics, colleges, and communities throughout the United States and internationally. We are grateful for each of them, all of whom enrich our organization through their various areas of expertise and their breadth of knowledge.
This year, we have enjoyed featuring a FACTS-trained speaker every month. Our series continues with Sara Shaffer, a certified nurse midwife and lactation consultant who also teaches the Marquette Model. Her passion for women’s health and knowledge of the science supporting fertility awareness-based methods are valuable assets in her role as a FACTS speaker.
Sara is a certified nurse midwife in Annapolis, Maryland. She is also a Board-certified lactation consultant and loves to support women who desire to breastfeed. She has been a speaker for FACTS since 2015 and enjoys educating students and healthcare professionals about the evidence for the effectiveness of FABMs. In particular, she values the opportunity to empower women and couples to appreciate and care for their fertility.
A Passionate Advocate
Dr. Marguerite Duane, executive director and co-founder of FACTS, admires Sara’s dedication to the field of fertility awareness and to teaching her patients, both as a midwife and as a fertility educator. “She is passionate about women’s health, especially in the postpartum period, and has a deep appreciation for the role of FABMs,” explains Dr. Duane. “When she recommends a method to a patient, she wants to be sure the evidence is there to support it.”
Dr. Duane notes Sara brings “a unique perspective to patient care as both a midwife and a Marquette instructor who walks the talk, since she uses FABMs in her personal life as well. She can speak to the benefits and challenges of these methods as a user and teacher who is more than a cheerleader.” Sara wants to empower women with this knowledge while ensuring they fully understand what it’s really like to use these methods.
In Her Own Words
As a FACTS speaker, Sara enjoys the opportunity to “educate students and residents about FABMs, since they typically do not receive (this information) in medical or nursing school.” She is proud to have given a variety of FACTS presentations since becoming a speaker. Her audiences have included medical and nursing students, residents, college students, and engaged couples.
She considers being a FACTS speaker a very enjoyable part of her profession. “I love to promote and advocate for this body of knowledge, since there is a deficit in education about this topic. I also practice NFP in my marriage, which is empowering, enhances my physical, mental, and spiritual health, and has strengthened my relationship with my husband.”
At work, Sara has been able to incorporate teaching about FABMs and even give instruction in a specific method in her office practice. “I have also begun teaching online, which has helped me reach more women and couples who are looking for an NFP Instructor but may not be able to locate one near them. I have even integrated FABM knowledge in my family by teaching our teenage daughters about their fertility. My daughters have appreciated learning how their bodies work, and they believe their fertility to be a gift, rather than something that should be a burden.”
Sara appreciates the relevance of the mission of FACTS, given the limited or non-existent education about FABMs in medical and nursing education. She encourages students in the medical and health professions to “include education and resources about FABMs when they counsel women on their family planning options. Only discussing the benefits and risks of contraception is not providing comprehensive counseling about their family planning options. Presenting the facts about all family planning options will empower patients to make an informed decision.”
We appreciate the unique perspective and passion for women’s health and FABMs that Sara brings to her presentations and are grateful for her contributions to the FACTS speaker program.
More about Sara Shaffer
Sara retired from the U.S. Navy after twenty years of service. She continues to practice as a midwife in Annapolis, MD. She has been happily married to her husband, Dave, for nineteen years and they are blessed with six beautiful children.
Our webinar series returns this Fall!
Strengthen Your Understanding of Fertility Awareness
Our webinars cover a wide range of topics in fertility awareness and are designed to educate physicians, health care professionals, and students and many are approved for CME Credit! And remember, if you are a FACTS member, you are granted attendance for one FREE webinar each year. Become a member today or email our webinar coordinator at speaker@FACTSaboutFertility.org for more information.
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FACTS is compiling a searchable, national database of physicians, medical professionals, and fertility educators to serve as an important resource for patients and the medical community. We hope you will join us! Click here to enter your practice information or email us for more information.