Thoughts on the Rhythm Method

Have you ever noticed how the societal views on the Rhythm Method are rather contradictory? They rightly point out its flaws and highish failure rate (roughly 25%, though I should point out that it actually can be quite effective for a woman with a very regular cycle. It is unlikely to be able to be used throughout all of her reproductive years, though, since teens and perimenopausal women have irregular cycles). In the next breath, though, they seem to think it is accurate enough to use to calculate a due date (due dates are calculated from LMP and assume that ovulation and conception always happen on day 14; if that were true, then the rhythm method would work nearly 100% of the time).

I get irritated at modern methods of NFP being conflated with the Rhythm Method so people can deride NFP, despite the fact that modern FABM (fertility awareness based methods) are very effective at either achieving or avoiding pregnancy. At the same time, there are a plethora of apps out there that are said to be great for tracking your cycle. And guess what? They’re basically the Rhythm Method. So is the rhythm method outdated, or a hip new app?

I honestly think the plethora of apps for tracking cycles are a sign of something good. It shows that women want to know their bodies more and are trying to take ownership of that knowledge. However, until girls and women are better educated about their bodies, that sense of knowledge and power is more an illusion than reality. When we do try to learn more and apply it, we’re often dismissed by others who say we cannot possibly know our bodies. The tide is slowly turning, but there’s a long way to go to dispel all the misinformation out there.


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