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How to use the Rhythm/Calendar Method! March 07, 2006 7:52 AM

Here I am going to try to explain how the rhythm/calendar method is supposed to work.

I am taking this information from the book I own called A cooperative Method Of Natural Birth Control By: Margaret Nofziger

Later, I will also be making threads about the BBT Method and the Cervical Awareness Method

The Rhythm/Calendar Method:

The rhythm method alone is only 60-80% effective. If you only use the rhythm method, there is a good chance you will get pregnant!

This is one of the oldest methods for determining fertility and infertility. It is based on three things:

1) Ovulation occurs about 2 weeks before your period. Fourteen days is average but it can be 12-16 days before.

2) Sperm are usually able to fertilize for 3 days on average

3) The life of the egg is only 12 to 24 hours long

If you keep track of several of your periods (the more the better) you subtract 2 weeks from your very shortest cycle and find out just about when you ovulated in these short cycles. This tells you the earliest you are likely to ovulate in future cycles.

Then you subtract 2 weeks from your longest recorded cycle to know the latest you are likely to ovulate in future cycles.

Now you take the earliest recorded ovulation date and count back two more days in case you ovulate 16 days before instead of the average 14 and then count back 3 more days for the maximum lifespan of the sperm. Now you have your last safe infertile day according to your past cycles.

After establishing this you go to the cycle day of your latest recorded ovulation and add 2 more days, incase your ovulation comes 12 days before your next period instead of the usual 14. Then add 1 more day to account for the 24 hours that the egg could live for. This gives you your most infertile days after the egg is gone.

One of the most popular calendar method formulas is called Ogino’s formula which is:

Shortest minus 19 for early, pre-ovulation safe days

&

Longest minus 10 for late, post-ovulation safe days

Since we use the temperature method (BBT) to establish the safe day after ovulation we will not bother with the second half of the formula. We do not have to figure out when the latest possible safe day is because the BBT will tell us when ovulation has actually passed.

The purpose of the calendar method when using FAM is to help us establish safe early days. But the original formula of Ogino did have a small failure rate (a few pregnancies). So we use a modified early safe day rhythm formula of …….

Shortest minus 21

Or

S-21= last day of the pre-ovulation phase

This new formula gives you 7 days leeway before your estimated time of ovulation.

5 Days for the very maximum sperm life and 2 extra days in case you ovulate 16 days earlier that your period instead of 14.

Example:

If your shortest recorded cycle was 28 days, you stop making love after day 7 because fertility begins on day 8

28-21=7 (as the last safe day)

If the shortest cycle was 32 days, you would stop after day 11 (fertility begins on day 12).

32-21=11 (as the last safe day)

The rhythm method is more reliable the more past cycles you are considering. If you never had a cycle shorter than, say, 28 days in the last few years, you could be fairly sure of infertility to day 7. But it is very strongly suggested that you use the cervical awareness method and pay close attention to your cervical fluid while using this method as well. If your fluid says you are fertile than you can not trust the rhythm method and must abstain, but if they both say you are infertile, then you should be safe.

Another thing to remember is that your cycles rhythm can change at times because of stress, illness, travel, and/or drugs (prescription or not). So if you suspect any of these things may be effecting you, you should abstain.

Another thing to note is that some do not think that the calendar method should be used at all. They think that you should use a strict method of abstaining the entire early part of your cycle and only having sex after it is established that ovulation has passed by the BBT and Cervical methods (this means a lot less sex).

But if considering a lot of past periods and using this method correctly (and along with the other 2 methods). You should not have a problem. It is your decision to make though.

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 March 07, 2006 10:19 AM

Of course you could also use this method to try and get pregnant as well, by simply having sexual intercourse on the days you would most likely be fertile according to this method. That is the beauty of these methods, they can work both ways

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 March 07, 2006 12:46 PM

I should mention that the first day of your period is considered Day 1 of your cycle.  [ send green star]
 
anonymous rhythm method March 17, 2006 9:39 PM

natalie,

do you subtract the 14 days from the last day of your period or the first day?

christen

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 April 03, 2006 8:31 AM

You would be subtracting about 14 days from the first day of your period. You ovulate about 12 to 16 days before the period begins.

Please read the above info carefully! It tells you exactly how to go about using the formula. I had to read all of the info a few times myself before I actually understood it.

Let me know if you have anymore questions. Thanks

                        ~natalie~

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 April 24, 2006 8:46 AM

thanks for the info Natalie, I have read elsewhere that to guestimate for future ovulation using rhythm method you should subtract the 14-16 days from the day your next period started. as it is most likely 14 - 16 days (in a 28 day cycle) after ovulation day that your period would start, so far this has been the case for me. does this info match the info you have?

sparkles

Zora 
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 April 24, 2006 10:47 AM

Yes that is right, just worded slightly differently. The wording can become very confusing I know. That is why it is important to really study the info until you have it down pat! You don't want to mess up on something like this you know

                         ~natalie~

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 May 03, 2006 1:13 PM

Okay so heres a question. the online thing I've been using to track my cycle with started marking days CD since my last period.
Any idea what that is supposed to stand for?
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 May 04, 2006 1:33 PM

I have no clue. The program you use doesn’t tell you what the abbreviations stand for? What is the site? Perhaps I can find out what it means (but not making any promises).

~natalie~

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anonymous  May 27, 2006 10:49 AM

This link has an ovulation calculator that might be helpful.


http://www.babycenter.com/calculators/ovulation/  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
 May 27, 2006 12:40 PM

Thank you Shady G.!

Here is some info from another source on the Rhythm Method:

What is the Rhythm Method?

The rhythm method, also known as "fertility awareness," is a method of birth control that uses the menstrual cycle to predict your most fertile time of the month - that is when you are most likely to become pregnant. Once you have identified your most fertile time you simply don't have sex or use a barrier method of birth control during that time period.

How does it work?

Fertility awareness birth control methods are based on the fact that:

  • sperm may live in the female reproductive tract for up to 7 days
  • the female egg lives for only a day
  • fertilization may occur even days after intercourse
  • "safe days" occur 2 days after ovulation and continue until your next period

There are several methods of determining which are the most fertile days of your cycle; a family planning clinic or your doctor will suggest one of several methods to help you identify the safest time during your cycle for having intercourse. These include the:

Calendar Rhythm Method - This method requires that you keep track of your cycle for a few months to determine your own individual pattern of ovulation. The pattern will help you keep track of when is most "dangerous" to have sexual intercourse.

Basal Body Temperature Method - This method involves keeping track of your body temperature so that you can tell when you are ovulating. Body temperature rises two days prior to ovulation.

Ovulation Method - This method requires you to check your cervical mucus to determine the time of ovulation.

Symptothermal Method - A combination of the first two methods.

Ovulation Predictor Kits - Available at the drugstore, these kits are used to test your urine to identify hormones that indicate ovulation is about to occur.

How effective is it?

No method guarantees 100% efficacy but the rhythm method may be trickier than some. You should choose a fertility awareness method only if:

  • you have a partner who is willing to cooperate
  • you are aware of and have a regular, steady monthly cycle
  • you are willing to invest the time and effort required to learn about fertility awareness methods
  • you and your partner are prepared to accept the fact that protection against pregnancy is not perfect

Are there side effects?

No. 

Contraception.net

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hi! May 25, 2007 1:43 AM

hi! is this how it goes?
in a 28 day cycle, it's safe to have intercourse without risk of having a child 7 days after last day of menstruation and 7 days before menstruation?

please reply at my email. godhunter_18@yahoo.com

thank you so much.

and another thing, if you don't mind me sharing it with you.

we made love. i inserted my penis after wiping off pre-ejaculation. and i just felt the moment of our closeness. minimal thrusting. then, i put on a condom and ejaculated in it.after that, i had her wash her privates inside and out with water. is there a chance of conceiving?
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anonymous how to use calendar method? June 11, 2007 4:18 AM

hi! it's so hard to understand the calendar method can u pls. help me? For example i have my 1st period last MAY 30 and it last June 2 how would i know if im safe and not? when is the day that  im safe? and not?

i need ur answer because the last time i try to use it i failed and get pregnant  i really appreciate if u help me.

thanks and more power!!!

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anonymous how will i know? June 21, 2007 1:07 AM

hi..im sorry but i cant understand the infos above..can i ask that is it safe to have sex 5 days before my menstruation?..or even 5 days after my menstruation?..pls reply..tnx.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
I WLL HELP THE BEST THAT I CAN June 29, 2007 9:45 PM

Okay, I am not a doctor, but I have done my share of reading about this topic and this is what I can share.

First, to be able to follow the rhythm method you must have the traditonal 28 day cycle.  The first day of the 28 day cycle begins the first day of your period.  So day one is the first day of your period and day 28 will be the day before you get your next period.  The problem with this method is that most women do not have 28 day cycles. 

For this reason, if you do not have a 28 day cycle, you should not rely on the rhythm method. (If you do have a 28 day cycle I will explain at the bottom what to do)

The fertility awareness method is much better , I think.  This involves tracking all different signs of fertility, which are basal temperature, mucus, and cervix position.  Basically what you do is chart these three signs and over a period of several months you are able to indentify when you are fertile.  Typically, when you are ovulating/ or in other words fertile, you may experience the following= 

1.higher basal temperature than normal (basal temp is your body temp when waking in the morning before going to the bathroom or eating or drinking)

2.  An increase in cervical mucuos , which may be creamy, wet, and stretchy, many compare it's texture to that of an eggwhite. 

3.  The size of your cervix becomes bigger and more open.

It is during this time of ovulation that a woman is able to become pregnant.  However, many women experience wet cervical fluid during the days leading up to ovulation and sperm can live for up to 72 hours i this cervical fluid. Therefore, a woman could have sex three days before she actually ovulates and still get pregnant if the sperm survive in her mucus. 

Therefore it would be wise to abstain at least three days before ovulation and many say as well as three days after ovulation appears to have ocurred.  This paired with using condoms or some other form of barrier method at all times is probably a good idea if you want to avoid pregnancy.  Abstinance during the ovulatory stage is very important because if the barrier method fails, you are much more likely to get pregnant. 

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I WLL HELP THE BEST THAT I CAN June 29, 2007 9:45 PM

Okay, I am not a doctor, but I have done my share of reading about this topic and this is what I can share.

First, to be able to follow the rhythm method you must have the traditonal 28 day cycle.  The first day of the 28 day cycle begins the first day of your period.  So day one is the first day of your period and day 28 will be the day before you get your next period.  The problem with this method is that most women do not have 28 day cycles. 

For this reason, if you do not have a 28 day cycle, you should not rely on the rhythm method. (If you do have a 28 day cycle I will explain at the bottom what to do)

The fertility awareness method is much better , I think.  This involves tracking all different signs of fertility, which are basal temperature, mucus, and cervix position.  Basically what you do is chart these three signs and over a period of several months you are able to indentify when you are fertile.  Typically, when you are ovulating/ or in other words fertile, you may experience the following= 

1.higher basal temperature than normal (basal temp is your body temp when waking in the morning before going to the bathroom or eating or drinking)

2.  An increase in cervical mucuos , which may be creamy, wet, and stretchy, many compare it's texture to that of an eggwhite. 

3.  The size of your cervix becomes bigger and more open.

It is during this time of ovulation that a woman is able to become pregnant.  However, many women experience wet cervical fluid during the days leading up to ovulation and sperm can live for up to 72 hours i this cervical fluid. Therefore, a woman could have sex three days before she actually ovulates and still get pregnant if the sperm survive in her mucus. 

Therefore it would be wise to abstain at least three days before ovulation and many say as well as three days after ovulation appears to have ocurred.  This paired with using condoms or some other form of barrier method at all times is probably a good idea if you want to avoid pregnancy.  Abstinance during the ovulatory stage is very important because if the barrier method fails, you are much more likely to get pregnant. 

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hi November 02, 2010 2:25 AM

hi! it's so hard to understand the calendar method can u pls. help me? i deliver a baby last july 26, 2010....and my first meanstruation was september 19...second meanstruation october 22, 2010....my husband and i have sex october 27-30, 2010..can i ask u if im safe in that day (27-30)...i was confused...plz answer on my emil asap......when is the day that im safe? and not?

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anonymous  October 11, 2011 12:43 AM

hi,i dont understand about rhythm calendar...i was used pills  8 yrs..i stopped taking pills was feb..on march and april had no period..on month of May 25 my first period..my nxt period was june 23,then the next was july 19,then on aug. 13,but in this month im taking pills,,then sept.9 my last period....we had contact with my husband on the 8th day from my period......im just asking why is it until now oct 11 i have no period...is im pregnant or what....pls pls pls help me

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anonymous  October 11, 2011 12:46 AM

in my cycle,,,,what day im safe...im confused.....someone told me 10 days from the day of the period...is that true?

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anonymous  October 11, 2011 12:46 AM

in my cycle,,,,what day im safe...im confused.....someone told me 10 days from the day of the period...is that true?

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 October 11, 2011 12:48 AM

pls email me asap

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