What is the rhythm method of birth control?

Rhythm Method

I'm not sure if this is in fact the rhythm method, but I believe it is done by calculating the fertile days and ovulation, then avoiding sex on and around (+ or - 4 days) these days.

Yes the above is true, but how do you determine that?

You can only get pregnant after you ovulate. Ovulation is the release of a single, mature egg from an ovary. This happens once monthly about two weeks after the beginning of menstruation in the average female (but you may be different). Once the egg is released, it travels down the fallopian tube where it may be fertilized by sperm within twenty-four hours of release.

A sudden surge in the level of Leutenizing Hormone (LH) causes ovulation. LH is always present in the body but in smaller amounts than are seen just prior to ovulation. Around the middle of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland releases more LH than any other time of the cycle. The LH surge can last from 1-3 days. The beginning of the LH surge precedes ovulation by 20-44 hours which is about one and a half days. The surge in LH can usually be detected in the urine 8-12 hours after it occurs in the serum.

If you want to determine when you are fertile, there are currently two major methods used to determine when a particular woman is ovulating. Basal body temperature is one method. The basal body temperature (BBT) will fall abruptly one to two days prior to ovulation in most women. There is a basal body thermometer used to measure basal body temperature. The temperature of a healthy person when taken immediately upon awakening is considered to be the BBT. Basal conditions are defined as being found 12 hours after the following: a restful sleep, eating, with no exercise, and with no emotional excitement. Also, basal body temperatures should be taken in normal ambient temperature. In addition to the drop in BBT prior to ovulation, other symptoms of fertility are monitored. These symptoms include cervical mucus changes and general physical observations. Basal body temperature monitoring may be a useful approach initially for a couple attempting to conceive. It is an inexpensive option which also provides a woman with accurate data concerning her cycle length. This information is helpful when considering the purchase and use of in-home monoclonal antibody ovulation prediction kits.

The other method often used to determine time of ovulation is in-home ovulation prediction kits. These should be used after the woman knows the length of her cycle and a time frame when she can expect to ovulate which she can find by using the BBT method. In-home ovulation prediction kits help determine the woman's fertile period by detecting the increase in the concentration of LH in the woman's urine prior to and during ovulation. These kits were first marketed in the United States in 1985. These tests contain monoclonal antibodies specific for LH and use an ELISA or EMIT to elicit a color change proportional to the level of LH in the urine. A significant increase in the intensity of the color over baseline is indicative of the LH surge. Different ovulation prediction kits contain supplies for between 5 and 9 tests. Theoretically, the earlier testing begins in a cycle and the more consecutive days tested, the greater is the likelihood of predicting the day of ovulation.

Often people will avoid intercourse 4 days before they EXPECT to ovulate based on some history. However, to be truly safe, wait until 4 days after you ovulate until the first day of your period.

Here are more comments from Wiki s contributors:

  • This is based on the fact that MOST women ovulate about half-way between periods. So if you have a dependable 28-day cycle, you should be most fertile around 14-21 days after the beginning of each cycle and refrain from having sex during this time.

Old joke = What do you call people who use the rhythm method? = Parents.

  • The rhythm method is an old and outdated method based purely on counting days from your last period. Unfortunately, the old joke listed above is probably more fact than fiction.

The current non-chemical method is called "natural family planning". It relies on certain physical changes in women to estimate the fertile time. I can say from personal experience it works and is best done when both parties are involved in the process.

  • The rhythm method, or natural family planning, is a form of birth control in which the days between your menstrual cycles are counted. On the days ovulation occurs (during mid cycle usually days 14-16), the women must abstain from sexual intercourse. This type of birth control is usually used in cases where religion stipulates that the use of modern day birth control divices (such as birth control pills, condoms, and other hormonal and barrier divices) is unnatural. This method is not as effective as the others in most cases because of human error.
  • Actually the "rhythm method" and the "natural planning method" are two similar but very different approaches to non-chemical pregnancy planning. As described above the "rhythm method" is calendar based and assumes that all women are regular and typical with 28 day cycles each and every month. I have many cousins from this method! Don't try it.

Natural Family Planning as taught by the Couple to Couple League is based on the individuality of each women. It has been shown to be as effective as using the pill - when properly applied. If you have no self control, a partner who doesn't respect your womanhood or multiple partners I wouldn't recommend it. If however, you are in a long term relationship with someone you love and loves you back, I highly recommend it.

For more information go to www.ccli.org