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Birth Control and the Rhythm Method

What Is the Rhythm Method?

A woman practices the rhythm method of birth control by learning to recognize the days she is fertile and not having sex before and during those days. The rhythm method does not work for all couples. Women who have regular menstrual cycles and who are very careful about when they have sex usually find it to be effective. Women who have irregular cycles and who are not so careful often end up becoming pregnant.

How Does the Rhythm Method Work?

Aspects of the rhythm method include keeping track of changes in body temperature and vaginal discharge (fluid from the vagina) to pinpoint which days you are fertile. Ask your doctor how best to use the rhythm method.

How Effective Is the Rhythm Method?

The rhythm method is typically 75% to 87% effective.

Does the Rhythm Method Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No. The rhythm method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The male condom provides the best protection from most STDs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH on August 11, 2014

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