The Rhythm Method: Mindful, Hormone-Free Birth Control
Birth control can be complicated, costly and uncomfortable. With all of the birth control options available to us, it can be overwhelming to choose between an IUD, implant, or pill. Ideally, most women in monogamous relationships deciding to not use condoms, would prefer a hormone-free, implant-free, and surgery-free method to prevent pregnancy. Of course any birth control method omitting condoms does not protect against the risk of STIs. This article is not intended to avoid the use of safe sexual behavior. Before proceeding to read this article be sure that you and your partner have been tested.
By no means is the rhythm method a new concept but with the advent of smartphones and apps, this method of fertility awareness is experiencing a comeback! The rhythm method works by tracking your cycles and identifying the six days out of the month when you are most fertile. During these six baby-making days you can abstain from sex or use another form of contraception, e.g: condoms, withdrawal, diaphragm.
1. Track your temperature
Every morning, before you get up and start moving around, take your temperature. This is called your basal body temperature (BBT). For most women, their BBT dips on the day of ovulation and then spikes up again. Though ovulation dips are not seen in every woman, tracking your temperature adds another layer of information to help you identify your fertile days.
2. Check your Cervical Mucus
Yep, you read that right. Get up in there, girl, and check that cervical mucus! Normal colored and non-foul smelling vaginal discharge is completely normal and actually a sign of a healthy reproductive system. As your body approaches ovulation, your cervical mucus will appear clear and stretchy like egg whites. This is the ideal environment to nourish sperm as they make the trek up the fallopian tubes. If you are trying to prevent pregnancy and you see egg white like mucus, you know to use a conservative birth control method instead.
3. Ovulation Tracking Apps
Apps can be your bestie to remind you of ovulation time. Ovia by Ovuline, Kindara, and Fertility Friend are a few of the most popular ovulation tracking tools. Sophisticated apps track ovulation through algorithms specific to your personalized data. Arguably the most simple track and go tool, apps are definitely the most convenient method.
Does The Rhythm Method Really Work?
It depends on how you practice mindfulness of your body and ovulation schedule. Though this method of birth control is device and hormone free, it does require quite a bit of self-awareness. Be mindful, during those 6 baby-making days, your libido may be of the charts! Be extra cautious, use a back-up method! If you are new to mindful living, give this method a try for 1-2 months and evaluate how diligent you were with tracking. Every woman is different based on beliefs, health status, and comfort level. Discover what works best for you!
Sarah Ellis is a 28-year-old wellness coach and runs her own lifestyle blog called Xo, Sarah Ellis. Sarah is also a naturopathic medical student who is currently living in San Diego, CA with her amazing husband! She loves cooking, writing, and dancing it out to Beyoncé. You can find her on almost all of the social media platforms! Don’t be shy, say hello!
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