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The Rhythm Method of Birth Control: What You Should Know

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.

It doesn’t work for all couples.

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Women who have regular menstrual cycles and who are very careful about when they have sex usually find it to be effective. If that’s not you, this isn’t going to be the best approach to birth control.

How Does It Work?

The rhythm method includes 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 It?

It’s about 75% to 87% effective. That means that up to 1 in 4 women who try it get pregnant in a typical year.

Does the Rhythm Method Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No. 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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