Rhythm Method

This technique is also sometimes called the calendar method. To perform this method, you keep a calendar and record every day of your menstrual cycle for at least six months. From that information, you can calculate when you are ovulating and thus when you are most fertile.

As discussed in Chapter 3, your menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding (this is considered day 1 of your cycle) to the first day of the next menstrual cycle. For most women, this is typically about 28 days. However, it is not unusual for the number of days to range from 23 to 35.

Most women ovulate approximately 14 days before their next period. Therefore, if your cycle is 28 days long, you probably ovulate on day 14 (28 - 14 = 14). If your cycle is 35 days long, you probably ovulate on day 21 (35 - 14 = 21). If you have a shortened cycle of, say, 23 days, then you likely ovulate on about day 9 (23 - 14 = 9).

Once you determine the approximate date that you ovulate each month, you should have sexual intercourse surrounding that day. For example, if you seem to ovulate on day 14 of your cycle, you should have sex from about day 12 through day 16, so your timing will coincide with your most fertile phase.

The rhythm method is considered fairly easy to perform and has no side effects. However, this method has been criticized because it does not take into account your daily habits, sleep patterns, illnesses, stress, and so on. Therefore, this technique is useful but is not considered as reliable as other natural family-planning methods.

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