The Rhythm Method

1 What is a Rhythm Method for Natural Family Planning?

Also known as the calendar method or the calendar rhythm method, a rhythm method is a form of natural family planning. In order to utilize this method, you need to track your menstrual cycle history to make a prediction of when you will ovulate.

This helps you determine when you are most likely to conceive. If you have hopes of getting pregnant, you can use the rhythm method to determine the best days to have sex.

In a similar way, if you are hoping to prevent pregnancy, you can use the rhythm method to determine which days you need to avoid unprotected sex. Using the rhythm method for birth control requires very careful and precise record keeping and diligence.

If you do not want to get pregnant, you and your partner must avoid having sex or use a barrier method of contraception during your fertile days every month.

2 Reasons for Procedure

The main reason for the rhythm method for natural family planning is to promote fertility or as a method of contraception, by helping you gauge the best days to engage or avoid unprotected sex.

Tracking your menstrual history for either fertility or contraception is not expensive and is not accompanied by any side effects. Some women prefer to use the rhythm method for religious reasons.

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3 Potential Risks

There are no risks involved in using the rhythm method for natural family planning. Likewise, using the rhythm method for birth control does not pose any risks.

However, it cannot offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, the risk of unintended pregnancy with the rhythm method is higher than with other methods of birth control.

Although effectiveness varies, in the first year of typical use an estimated 13 out of 100 women practicing the rhythm method for birth control will end up getting pregnant.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

Keeping track of your menstrual history does not require any special preparation.

However, if you want to use the rhythm method for birth control, make sure to consult your health care provider first if:

  • You recently had your first period, gave birth or stopped taking birth control pills or other contraceptives.
  • You are breastfeeding.
  • You are approaching menopause.
  • You have irregular menstrual cycles.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your rhythm method for natural family planning.

In order to use the rhythm method:

  • Record the length of 6 to 12 of your menstrual cycles. With the use of a calendar, write down the number of days in each menstrual cycle, counting from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. Determine the length of your shortest menstrual cycle. Take away 18 from the total number of days in your shortest cycle. This number represents the first fertile day of your cycle. For instance, if your shortest cycle is 26 days long, subtract 18 from 28 to get 8. In this example, the first day of your cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding and the eighth day of your cycle is the first fertile day.
  • Determine the length of your longest menstrual cycle. Subtract 11 from the total number of days in your longest cycle. This number stands for the last fertile day of your cycle. For instance, the first day of your cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding and the twenty-first day of the cycle is the last fertile day.
  • Plan sex carefully during fertile days. You have hopes of avoiding pregnancy, unprotected sex is off-limits during your fertile days every month. On the other hand, if you have hopes of getting pregnant, have sex regularly during your fertile days. Update your calculations every month.
  • Continue recording the length of your menstrual cycled to make sure you are making a proper determination of your fertile days. You must always keep in mind that a lot of factors can affect the exact timing of ovulation, including illness and stress. Using the rhythm method to predict ovulation can be inaccurate, especially if you have an irregular cycle.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your rhythm method for natural family planning results, consult with your doctor.

You can be able to determine the best days to have or avoid sex depending on your goal of either using the rhythm method for promoting pregnancy or avoiding it.

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