“Calendar-based methods are various methods of estimating a woman’s likelihood of fertility, based on a record of the length of previous menstrual cycles. Various methods are known as the Knaus–Ogino Method and the Rhythm Method. The Standard Days Method is also considered a calendar-based method, because when using it, a woman tracks the days of her menstrual cycle without observing her physical fertility signs. The Standard Days Method is based on a fixed formula taking into consideration the timing of ovulation, the functional life of the sperm and the ovum, and the resulting likelihood of pregnancy on particular days of the menstrual cycle. These methods may be used to achieve pregnancy by timing unprotected intercourse for days identified as fertile, or to avoid pregnancy by avoiding unprotected intercourse during fertile days.
“The first formalized calendar-based method was developed in 1930 by John Smulders, a Roman Catholic physician from the Netherlands. It was based on knowledge of the menstrual cycle. This method was independently discovered by Hermann Knaus (Austria), and Kyusaku Ogino (Japan). This system was a main form of birth control available to Catholic couples for several decades, until the popularization of symptoms-based fertility awareness methods. A new development in calendar-based methods occurred in 2002, when Georgetown University introduced the Standard Days Method. The Standard Days Method is promoted in conjunction with a product called CycleBeads, a ring of colored beads which are meant to help the user keep track of her fertile and non-fertile days.”
Now – don’t get me wrong – the Calendar-based methods of the 1930’s were revolutionary and ground breaking – until then, women had no idea when they could conceive. With these methods they at least had some idea of how their bodies worked. BUT – it’s been nearly 100 years since then, and research and science have discovered SO much more information about our fertility! So why would a 21st Century woman want to go back to that old, archaic form of family planning? Probably because if it’s an App it appears new and shiny and fun!
Calendar methods fail – often. Have you heard the joke about what you call people who use the Rhythm/Calendar method? PARENTS! In the 1930’s, it was better than nothing – but couples have newer and better options based on newer and better science! The calendar method was based on a rudimentary understanding of a woman’s cycle – they were able to determine that “most” women ovulated about 14 days after the beginning of menstruation, and they would add a few days of abstinence before that anticipated day, and a few days afterwards to prevent conception. BUT – not every woman is the same – not every women ovulates 14 days after menstruation begins – what happens then? Those women get pregnant.
If you want to use NFP as family planning, it’s essential that you have a good teacher – someone to help you learn how to identify signs/symptoms of fertility – at least for the first several cycles. There ARE good science based apps out there – and a teacher will be able to point you to one that will be effective with the method you’ve chosen to use. Don’t just download an app – be a student of your body – learn how YOUR body works – and have someone help you in that process! NFP is as effective as any other form of birth control on the market today – IF you have good instruction and you follow the guidelines (which you can’t learn from an app!)!