Nowadays it’s easy to get access to various forms of birth control. There are pills, shots, IUDs, and more; but what if we told you that you there’s a method where you don’t have to rely on hormones as an effective method for birth control? This method is called the rhythm method, also known as the calendar method. Using the rhythm method can be very effective when done correctly, and we’re here to give you all the details on this natural method.
How The Rhythm Method Works
The rhythm method is a form of natural family planning strategy. You track your menstrual cycle using a calendar or planner to predict when you’ll ovulate.The rhythm method promotes fertility awareness. It involves measuring the number of days in your cycle and keeping track of your fertility symptoms.
Most women’s cycles are between 21 and 32 days, with 28 days being the average. In your cycle, you become fertile about two weeks before and after your period. Your ovulation period lasts five days, so list these days in your calendar to know which days to avoid sex. During your fertile days, obtain from sex or use a condom to prevent pregnancy.
How To Tell When You’re Fertile
There are various things to measure to successfully track your fertility. First is your basal body temperature (BBT). BBT is the lowest body temperature measured immediately after waking up. When you’re fertile, your temperature is slightly higher. You can buy a basal thermometer to track your BBT. This is known as the temperature method.
You also have to be aware of your cervical mucus. You gain more cervical mucus when you’re fertile. This mucus is important during ovulation to protect sperm. So obviously if you’re trying not to have a baby, you shouldn’t have sex when your body produces more cervical mucus. You’ll be able to see it in your underwear.
An ovulation kit is helpful when you need to track your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). These levels increase before you ovulate, letting you know when you’re fertile. You can buy an ovulation predictor kit from many drugstores. They provide step by step instructions to help guide you.
All these methods combine to become the symptothermal method. Once you’ve gotten in the habit of doing these things often, the rhythm method will be easier and more effective.
Best Candidates For The Rhythm Method
This method is best for those that have regular menstrual cycles. Irregular menstrual cycles don’t work with the calendar method because it’s hard to track. When your cycle is regular, there’s a high chance that you ovulate near the same days each month. Doctors suggest tracking your cycle for at least six months to see if it’s regular before committing to the rhythm method. You don’t want to start one month and then find out you’re pregnant the next.
Other candidates for this method are ones that commit. While your fertile days will become a basic instinct to you someday when starting out it takes commitment to truly learn your body. Practice really does make perfect. If you commit the first six months to the rhythm method, the rest of the year will be much easier. If you don’t think you can commit to the rhythm method, we suggest trying the other forms of birth control.
Some doctors agree that the rhythm method is the least effective form of birth control. This is because bodies can sometimes be unpredictable. So this method does come with risks like all the other forms of birth control.
The first and most obvious risk is pregnancy. When you’re relying on nature to prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t always work. If you mess up during any step of the process, you could become pregnant. If your menstrual cycle changes or you forget to calculate the changes because of February being a shorter month, the chances of pregnancy is even higher. If you’re worried about an unplanned pregnancy, use condoms.
The second risk of the rhythm method is getting an STD.For those that don’t practice monogamy, the rhythm method is not for you. It’s alright to experiment sexually and have multiple partners if you’re safe. Using the rhythm method with multiple partners isn’t safe because STDs are easily transferable. This method is for those who have one partner that they trust.
Is This The Best Method Of Birth Control For You?
For those that have medical or religious reasons, the rhythm method is a great natural way of family planning. However, you must plan for everything. Even if you really know your body, unplanned pregnancies can occur.
If you truly cannot care for a child at this stage in your life, use another form of birth control. Planned Parenthood can walk you through the many options of birth control and help you choose the right one for you and your needs. You can also reach out to your NYGals for dating advice.