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The Differences Between Fertility Awareness-Based Methods and the “Rhythm Method”

You’ve had a LOT of women’s health questions for us at CTHQ over the years, including “What’s the best birth control method?”, “How do I manage my period?”, “What’s the fastest way I can get pregnant?”, etc. But recently, when a leaked memo from the Trump administration included a proposal to shift its focus to fertility awareness methods and abstinence-only programs for women’s health, we started getting the question, “What’s the difference between fertility awareness and the rhythm method?”

(Infographic Image 1.3) Click to download & share "Fertility Awareness-Based Methods Are Not All The Same"

(Infographic Image 1.3) Click to download & share "Fertility Awareness-Based Methods Are Not All The Same"

First, let us set the record straight, we think that a one-size-fits-all-approach to birth control is a terrible idea. It is a disservice to women in that we should have access to more options, not fewer. AND while, fertility awareness-based family planning options are an important part of the contraceptive method mix, they should be part of a full range of contraceptive options.

Now let’s clear up the confusion about the differences between scientifically proven fertility awareness-based methods and “the rhythm method”. Fertility awareness methods have come a long way in the last few decades and many of them have been well tested and found to be effective in both perfect and typical use. These methods rely on a woman tracking certain fertility indicators, such as her period, basal body temperature and/or secretions. And with advances in technology, there are new tools to support the use of these methods.

Meanwhile, the “rhythm method” is most often used as a catchall term that describes simply trying to time when you have intercourse during non-fertile periods of the cycle to avoid pregnancy. And although there wasn’t much scientific backing behind it, the original “rhythm method” was the best knowledge women had at the time it was originated. However, typical use failure rate was high, because it was vaguely understood, the tracking and calculations were cumbersome, and there wasn’t much scientific study that concluded its effectiveness.

Fortunately, Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) have come a long way and are now considered modern contraceptives. FAMs that are effective and backed by evidence are the ones we should all be paying attention to.

We’ve created a quick infographic to illustrate the types of scientifically proven fertility awareness methods that exist along with basic information on each.

(Infographic Image 2.3) Click to download & share "Distinction Between Modern Fertility Awareness Methods And Traditional Rhythm Method"

INFOGRAPHIC 2_Are there Differences Between Modern Fertility Awareness Methods and Traditional Rhythm Method?

(Infographic Image 3.3) Click to download & share "Typical & Perfect Use Efficacy Chart _ Modern Fertility Awareness Methods"

INFOGRAPHIC 3_Typical & Perfect Use Efficacy Chart

Want more information? Take a look at the World Health Organization’s Contraceptive Fact Sheet to learn more.

Cycle Technologies is a social impact company focused on women's health. Our mission is to prevent unplanned pregnancies and help people have the families that they want when they are ready. Our products (CycleBeads, 2Day, Dot) are available in over 60 countries and apps are available to anyone in the world with a smartphone. Connect with us via email at info@CycleTechnologies.com, on Facebook and/or Twitter for the most up to date announcements. To subscribe to our newsletter, please click here.

#fertilityawareness #rhythmmethod #naturalbirthcontrol #efficacyofFAMs

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