Rhythm Method of birth control is basically a natural method of avoiding pregnancy, by following abstinence during the period of ovulation. The method was once one of the most prominent methods of natural family planning, as it was approved and recognized by Roman Catholic Church, which condemned the usage of artificial contraceptives. The rhythm method is also known as calendar method, as it involves determining the infertile days of a woman to have sexual intercourse.
The rhythm method of family planning was introduced in 1905, when Theodoor Hendrik Van de Velde, a Dutch gynecologist, explained that women only ovulate once per menstrual cycle. Following this, in 1920s, Kyusaku Ogino, a Japanese gynecologist, and Hermann Knaus, from Austria, independently discovered that ovulation occurs about fourteen days before the next menstrual period. Taking this theory as basis, Ogino devised a formula, with the help of which infertile women could time sexual intercourse with their partners and achieve pregnancy.
The method employs observing the menstrual cycle of a woman for a few consecutive months, to calculate the safe period. With the help of this, you need to note down the shortest and the longest cycles that the woman might have experienced. After this, to calculate the first fertile day, you have to subtract 18 days from shortest cycle. Similarly, the last day can be calculated by subtracting 11 days from the longest cycle. This will give you the fertile time of a woman’s cycle. To avoid pregnancy, abstinence has to be observed during this period.
However just the awareness about fertility is not a very reliable way to prevent pregnancy. And of course it should be used by only married couples who are monogamous. According to some studies done, for over a year, almost 25 out of 100 typical couples relying on fertility awareness for preventing pregnancy may have an accidental pregnancy. Rhythm method should not be used by teenagers or unmarried couples for the simple reason that it is not as reliable and safe as use of condoms. This type of method does not provide a protection against sexually transmitted disease that is STD.
The effect and success of rhythm method depends on various factors. Mainly it depends on the consistency of a woman’s ovulatory cycle and how precisely the track of the ovulation is kept. If a woman has, any health conditions which may interfere with the ovulation cycle. While the method is easy to follow, it is not essentially applicable to all the women. The assumption that the ovulation will only occur only at the same time every month, is not correct for every woman. The problem of having periods at different time in different months is also a problem. Also for those women, too who gets fairly regular periods, their menstrual cycle also is not identical every month. In order for rhythm method to work, a woman must have very regular menstrual periods.
Another problem with a rhythm method is the idea that the sperms can only live up to three days inside a woman. However, some studies suggest that sperms can live up to seven days inside a woman.
A couple following the rhythm method should avoid having sex for at least a week before when the ovulation in a woman would occur. If you want to use rhythm method, you can ask your doctor about it. Your doctor will be able to better tell you about the method and risk related to rhythm method. Although this method is less effective than some other family planning method, it can work well if you know how to go about it. Even a woman with irregular periods can make this method work, with the help of her partner. if a woman can tell when she would be ovulating just by noticing the changes in her body, she would be able to make this type of family planning work.