Rhythm Method vs. Fertility Awareness Method

If you’re learning more about natural family planning methods, you’ve probably noticed two different names pop up- Fertility Awareness Method and Rhythm Method.

They seem very similar. Both are looking for your fertile window. And if you know your fertile window you can make some family decisions-babies or no babies! But these two methods are VERY different.

What is Fertility Awareness Method?

Fertility Awareness Method uses your body’s signals to determine your ovulation day. It looks are your cervical fluid, the position of your cervix and your daily basal body temperature to figure out your fertile window. If you want to know more about this method, check out Fertility Awareness Method 101.

What is the Rhythm Method?

The Rhythm Method uses the number of days in your average cycle to determine your fertile window. Most period tracker apps use this method. It will ask for the number of days in your average cycle. From there it will show what days you are fertile in green with a star on your expected ovulation day and what days you will likely have your period in red. You can also just use a regular ole calendar and a little for this method.

Let’s try the rhythm method with a 30 day cycle:

Day 1 of your cycle is the day your period starts, and Day 30 would be the day right before your next period. We know the second half of your cycle (the luteal phase) is always 14 days. So if you count back you can assume you will ovulate on Day 16. We also know that sperm can survive 6 days after sex and the egg can be fertilized 12-24 hours after ovulation. So with the rhythm method, your fertile days are Day 10-17.

So what’s the difference?

The rhythm method is just using the number of days, instead of your body’s signals to determine your ovulation. Seems like a small difference right? But what if you’re ovulation fluctuates by a day or so? One day could make a BIG difference, especially if you’re in the “No babes please” camp! This can also make a difference if you’re in the “We want a baby yesterday” camp! Imagine ovulating two days later than the calendar said…not ideal!

Can I get on my soap box for a minute? No one knows your body better than you do! Period tracker apps are a wonderful tool for tracking the data YOU input!

Who should use the Rhythm Method?

If you’re in the “If it happens, it happens” camp, then the rhythm method is perfect for you. It’s simple and no fuss. Maybe you just want to use this method so you have a good idea of when your period is coming. That’s great! This method is for you!

Have you tried natural family planning? Leave a comment!

With Love,

Toni