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Birth Control Behavioral Methods (cont.)

Other Methods of Periodic Abstinence

Several other methods of periodic abstinence exist.

  • Rhythm method: Couples who practice the rhythm method, also called the calendar method, decide when to abstain from intercourse based on calendar calculations of the past 6 menstrual cycles. However, allowances are not made for the normal variations in the menstrual cycle that many women experience. This method is not as reliable as the symptothermal method of NFP or FAM.

  • Cervical mucus method: Also called the ovulation method, the cervical mucus method involves monitoring cervical mucus only, without also recording basal body temperature or menstrual history. The safe period is considered to be any dry mucus days just after menstruation and the 10 or 11 days at the end of the cycle. Days of menstrual bleeding are deemed infertile; however, pregnancy can occur during menstruation. Vaginal infections, sexual excitement, lubricants, and certain medications can significantly affect the accuracy of cervical mucus assessment.

  • Basal body temperature method: This method involves monitoring basal body temperature only, without also recording cervical mucus or other signs. Sex is avoided from the end of the menstrual period until 3 days after the increase in temperature.

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