Rhythm Method: The Most Natural Approach to Family Planning

Mar 02, 2024
Rhythm Method: The Most Natural Approach to Family Planning
Birth control is essential to your personal life, and your choices will depend on whether you ever plan on having kids or not. The rhythm method is a natural way to approach conception, and here’s how it works.

Being sexually active means making intelligent decisions on preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as deciding when it’s time to start a family and when you need to consider contraception. 

When it comes to contraception, there are a lot of popular options, including birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), vaginal rings, patches, and of course, condoms to prevent pregnancy and STDs.

If you live in the Chicago, Illinois, area, and you’re looking for the best family planning methods for you, our extensive team of specialists at Michigan Avenue Primary Care can help.

One technique you can use to both avoid having children and find the perfect time to get pregnant is the rhythm method, also known as the calendar method. To better understand this natural way of family planning, let’s examine what the rhythm method is, how it affects getting pregnant or not, and how it helps you determine the best time for you to have sex.

Understanding the rhythm method

This method requires you to keep a close eye on your menstrual cycle to better understand the best times for you to have sex to either increase your chances of getting pregnant or avoid it. 

The time during your cycle when a mature egg is released from your ovaries is known as ovulation, and the key to the rhythm method is knowing when you ovulate so you can decide when to have sex for whichever goal you want to pursue.

How the rhythm method affects whether or not you get pregnant

The effectiveness of this method depends on your body’s cyclical rhythms and using the information on when you’ve ovulated in the past becomes the rubric for when you want to have sex. 

No matter how long your cycle usually is, most women have about two weeks after ovulation, and eggs are only viable for about a day after they leave your ovaries. 

Sperm can live for five days after your eggs have been released, so the optimal time for getting pregnant using this method is in the days just before you ovulate, the day you ovulate, and within a day after you ovulate. 

This also provides the timeframe for when to avoid sex if you don’t want to get pregnant.

Calculating the best times to have sex

There are variables involved in using the rhythm method, such as how regular your ovulation cycle is. Some options to help increase the accuracy of your results include:

Testing for ovulation

When determining the best time to have sex, you can perform a test to see if you’re ovulating. Getting a positive result can help determine when the best time is for you to get pregnant or avoid it.

Temperature charting

Ovulation can also be detected by using your basal body temperature, which is done by checking at the same time every morning around the time you’re expecting to be at this point in your cycle. A slight, but sustained rise in your temperature indicates you’re no longer fertile.

Cervical fluid

The consistency of your cervical fluid changes during your menstrual cycle, starting out thicker and becoming more watery as you become fertile. This can also help determine when to have sex.

There are variations on this method such as the natural family planning or fertility awareness techniques.

If you have questions about using the rhythm method or find it’s not working for you, make an appointment with the team at Michigan Avenue Primary Care today to get answers. Call our office or schedule your visit online anytime.