Rhythm Method

The rhythm method is one of the first fertility awareness methods to be widely practiced. It is one of the oldest methods of natural birth control and by far one of the best-known forms of fertility awareness. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily the most reliable method of preventing a pregnancy.

Theory and Practice
The rhythm method is based on three ideas. Firstly, that women ovulate 14 days before menstruation begins, give or take two days. Secondly, that sperm can survive inside a woman for three days. And lastly, that an egg can only be fertilized within 24 hours of being released from the ovaries.

Does The Rhythm Method Birth Control Work?

Based on these assumptions, the rhythm method requires a woman to count back 14 days from the first day of her period. This will presumably be the day on which she ovulated and will ovulate the following month. In order to avoid pregnancy, she will need to abstain from sex or use another form of birth control, like condoms, around this time.


While this method is fairly simple to follow, it is not necessarily applicable to all women. The first problem lies in the assumption that ovulation will always occur at the same time every month. While it would make life a lot easier for women if this were true, the reality is that the majority of women ovulate at a different time every month. Although they may follow a similar pattern, no woman has a menstrual cycle that is identical every month.

Another issue with the rhythm method is the belief that sperm are only viable inside a woman for up to three days. It has been found that sperm may be able to survive for as much as seven days inside a woman. Therefore, it would be necessary to avoid having sex for at least a week prior to when a woman believes ovulation will occur.

Moreover, this type of contraception offers absolutely no protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, it will still be necessary to use a condom if you think you may be at risk of an STD.

The rhythm method has an average failure rate of 13 to 20%. It is not recommended for women who have irregular cycles or who do not have menstrual cycles that are exactly the same number of days every month.

Login to comment

Post a comment

I was on BC pills for 8 years (due to heavy menstruation) and in July of 2008, myself and my boyfriend, whom is now my husband, decided to get off the BC pills and use the Rhythm Method and Pullout Method as our only form of birth control and family planning! The Rhythm Method and the Pullout Method are very effective if not 100% effective as long as you know your body and menstrual cycle very well! These methods are not and should not be used by teens, couples who do not know their bodies or ovulation cycle to a T, or have not been in a long committed relationship with great communication skills for at least a couple of years (IMO)!! I would not recommend this form of birth control to anyone who is young or where sexual communication is not completely open and honest!! Catchacool is a prime example of why these method should only be used in monogamous long term sexual relationships. I am not saying that catchacool is not in a long term monogamous relationship but I am saying that a guy between 15-22 may not know their body well enough to pullout in time or urinate after masturbation before engaging in vaginal intercourse. It was four years of using this method religiously that my husband and I decided to try for a baby. In return, knowing my menstrual cycle and ovulation cycle helped us get pregnant. I have known both methods to be 100% effective in every one of my close friends relationships who choose to use these methods of natural family planning and birth control! Now I'm the mommy to two beautiful twin boys!!!
8 years ago
I have to disagree with the previous comment. I have been using the rhythm method for a year and haven't had any issues. A person who decides this method needs to be discipline in that you have to been in tune with your body. If you know that you may be ovulating, then you need to refrain from intercourse or use a condom.
9 years ago
everyone i know who has gotten accidently pregnant was using the rhythm method. i don't know why people still think this is a form of birth control. most boys have precum which is totally enough to get you pregnant even before they come. so without birth control or a condom or something you can still totally end up pregnant. the rhythm method doesn't work at all.
10 years ago