Natural Family Planning/Rhythm Method
This method is when you do not have sex or use a barrier method on the days you are most fertile (most likely to become pregnant). You can read about barrier methods in the following chart.
A woman who has a regular menstrual cycle has about 9 or more days each month when she is able to get pregnant. These fertile days are about 5 days before and 3 days after ovulation, as well as the day of ovulation.
To have success with this method, you need to learn about your menstrual cycle. Then you can learn to predict which days you are fertile or “unsafe.” To learn about your cycle, keep a written record of:
- When you get your period
- What it is like (heavy or light blood flow)
- How you feel (sore breasts, cramps)
This method also involves checking your cervical mucus and recording your body temperature each day. Cervical mucus is the discharge from your vagina. You are most fertile when it is clear and slippery like raw egg whites. Use a basal thermometer to take your temperature and record it in a chart. Your temperature will rise 0.4 to 0.8° F on the first day of ovulation. You can talk with your doctor or a natural family planning instructor to learn how to record and understand this information.
Reference: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services