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How to Do Calendar Method Family Planning: Does it Work?

How to Do Calendar Method Family Planning: Does it Work?

Calendar method family planning, also known as the rhythm method, is a form of natural family planning. This helps women know when they are most likely to be fertile in a month. If they want to avoid pregnancy, they need to make sure that they do not have unprotected sex on those days. On the other hand, if they are trying to conceive, they can try getting pregnant during these days. Learning how to do calendar method family planning is easy, but its accuracy is based on the regularity of your menstruation.

How to Do Calendar Method Family Planning

Step 1 Track your period

The first step in how to do calendar method family planning properly is for you to track your menstrual history. Take note of it for at least 6 months so you can see your menstrual pattern. You may write this down in a journal or use an app. This will help you predict when you will ovulate and determine when you are most likely to get pregnant.

The first day of your menstrual cycle is Day 1. The next month, mark the first day of your next menstrual cycle. From Day 1 of last month to Day 1 of the next month, count the total number of days between each cycle.

Step 2 Determine your fertile window

The fertile window is between Day 8 to Day 19. Once you are able to identify which days you are most likely to conceive, you can choose whether to have unprotected sex depending on what your goal is: to have a baby or to avoid unwanted pregnancy.

What to Do

If you are not trying to conceive, it is recommended that you abstain from sex these days. Should you have unprotected sex on these days, there is a chance that you will conceive a child. Day 20 to the first day of your next bleeding cycle is considered safe.

The calendar method of family planning is one of the most cost-efficient natural birth controls. Additionally, this does not have any side effects.

Calendar Method Combined with Other Birth Control

For couples who still want to have sex on days that are deemed unsafe, it is recommended to avoid vaginal sex. If you want to engage in vaginal sex, use a condom or a diaphragm. You may also use the withdrawal method or spermicides. However, these are also not 100% effective.

The reason for this is because of your ovulation period, which is the time when your ovaries release an egg, between Day 12 to Day 16 of your menstruation. However, the specific day depends on your cycle length as well as your sex hormone levels.

Once an egg has been released, it only has 24-48 hours to remain alive. However, male sperm can remain alive and viable inside a woman’s body for 5 days. So if you have unprotected sex 5 days before you ovulate, you may still become pregnant.

If your monthly period lasts anywhere between 26-32 day cycle, this is something that may be effective for you. If you are trying to avoid pregnancy, you need to make sure that you do not have unprotected sex on Day 8-19 of your cycle.

how to do calendar method family planning

Challenges with Calendar Method Family Planning

Only works on women with regular periods

There is a limitation in using the calendar method family planning. You may only use this method as an effective means of natural birth control if you have a regular period. This means that you get your period monthly or you are what they call a “regular.” Even then, it is not guaranteed to be 100% effective.

For women with an irregular period, the chances of becoming pregnant become higher when your menstrual cycle is outside of the 26 to 32 days range even if you avoid unprotected sexual intercourse on Day 8-19.

Not 100% accurate

Another challenge with this form of family planning is the fact that you cannot really predict when you are fertile. It can only give you an estimated window as to when you may be safe or fertile. If your cycle is not the same length every single month, the calendar method becomes less effective.

If you have more than 2 cycles a year that is longer or shorter than 26-32 days, the calendar method family planning will also not be as effective. You also need to remember that since it is not 100% accurate, some doctors recommend using the calendar method family planning in tandem with other modern methods of family planning.

For those who want to maintain natural family planning methods, it recommended that you combine the calendar method of family planning with the temperature and cervical mucus methods. This is one of the best ways on how to do calendar method family planning.

Lapse in tracking

Aside from these challenges, another reason that may cause the calendar method to fail is memory. If a woman is not able to track her cycle in a diary, planner, or digital calendar, the chances of forgetting when the first day of her period is high. Since the method is already not 100% accurate, a slight miscalculation can prove to be risky especially if this method is used to avoid pregnancy.

Key Takeaways

Learning how to do calendar method family planning properly is easy once you understand the basics of menstruation. Calendar method family planning can be an effective and cost-effective means of birth control. However, since it is not 100% accurate, it is best to use it with another form of family planning. The full-proof means of not getting pregnant is to abstain from sexual intercourse altogether.

Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Classifications for Fertility Awareness-Based Methods, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/mmwr/mec/appendixf.html, Accessed June 26, 2020

Standard Days Methods, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/mmwr/spr/days.html, Accessed June 26, 2020

Family Planning/ Contraception Methods, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/family-planning-contraception, Accessed June 26, 2020

Rhythm Method for Natural Family Planning, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/rhythm-method/about/pac-20390918, Accessed June 26, 2020

What’s the calendar method of fans?, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/fertility-awareness/whats-calendar-method-fams, Accessed June 26, 2020

Explaining How to Use Calendar-Based Methods, https://www.fphandbook.org/explaining-how-use-calendar-based-methods, Accessed June 26, 2020

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Written by Kathy Kenny Ylaya Ngo on Jun 26, 2020
Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, M.D.
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