- Rhythm method
- Also known as fertility awareness, natural family planning, and periodic abstinence, this approach to contraception entails not having sexual intercourse on the days of a woman's menstrual cycle when she could become pregnant or using a barrier method (such as a condom, the diaphragm or a cervical cap) for birth control on those days. Because a sperm may live in the female's reproductive tract for up to 7 days and the egg remains fertile for about 24 hours, a woman can get pregnant within a substantial window of time — from 7 days before ovulation to 3 days after. Methods to approximate when a woman is fertile are usually based on the menstrual cycle, changes in cervical mucus, or changes in body temperature.
* * *rhythm method n a method of birth control involving continence during the period of the sexual cycle in which ovulation is most likely to occur
* * *a contraceptive method in which sexual intercourse is restricted to the safe period at the beginning and end of the menstrual cycle. The safe period is calculated either on the basis of the length of the menstrual cycle or by reliance on the change of body temperature that occurs at ovulation. A third possible indicator (see Billings method) is the change that occurs with ovulation in the stickiness of the mucus at the neck (cervix) of the uterus. The method depends for its reliability on the woman having uniform regular periods and its failure rate is higher than with mechanical methods, approaching 25 pregnancies per 100 woman-years.
* * *a method of preventing conception by restricting coitus to the so-called safe period, avoiding the days just before and after the expected time of ovulation. Called also periodic abstinence.
Medical dictionary. 2011.