Looking for more natural family planning methods? Consider the rhythm method, when you do not have sex on the days you are most fertile (most likely to become pregnant).

A woman who has a regular menstrual cycle has about 9 or more days each month when she is able to get pregnant. These fertile days are about 5 days before and 3 days after her ovulation cycle, as well as the day of ovulation.

To have success with this method of natural birth control, you need to track your menstrual cycle, including your ovulation cycle.

Keep a written record of:

  • When you get your period
  • What it is like (heavy or light blood flow)
  • How you feel (sore breasts, cramps)

The rhythm method also involves checking your cervical mucus - vaginal discharge - and recording your body temperature each day.

You are most fertile when cervical mucus is clear and slippery like raw egg whites. Use a basal thermometer to take your temperature and record it in a chart. Your temperature will rise 0.4 to 0.8 degrees F on the first day of ovulation. You can talk with your doctor or a natural family planning instructor to learn how to record and understand this information.

Benefits and risks of this form of natural birth control

With natural family planning, no artificial devices or hormones are used to prevent pregnancy and little to no cost is involved. But, experts say, while natural birth control methods can work, a couple needs to be extremely motivated to use them effectively and accurately to prevent pregnancy.