A recent government survey released on Wednesday, June 2, stated that a growing number of teenage girls rely on the rhythm method as their primary form of birth control. Also stated in the survey details was a note that many teen girls think there is nothing wrong with unwed pregnancy.
In their report, The Associated Press said perhaps this is the reason teen pregnancy rates, which dropped earlier in the decade, were no longer dropping like they were in the past.
There are a number of things wrong with the rhythm method as a viable form of birth control, whether you’re a teen having sex, or an adult outside of a committed relationship.
The rhythm method relies on three important factors to prevent or achieve pregnancy. First, the rhythm method theory relies on the notion that all women have a 28-day menstrual cycle, and that ovulation occurs on or around fourteen days before their next menstrual period. The fact of the matter is that not all women have a 28-day cycle, and taking even a remote chance trying to pinpoint the dates it’s unsafe to have sex if you want to avoid pregnancy is a huge gamble–especially for a teenage girl.
The second part of the rhythm method form of birth control suggests sperm can only survive inside a woman’s body for 72-hours. If you happen to risk having unprotected sex on the last “safe” day before ovulation, sperm that is still inside the body may fertilize eggs. Again, a gamble.
Third, some studies say the egg can only be fertilized for twenty-four hours after being released from the ovaries. If you aren’t quite sure when the egg was released, triggering ovulation, there is a huge window of time during which you may become pregnant if you do not use any other form of birth control.
Aside from the above-mentioned complicated calculations, the rhythm method does not protect either person from sexually transmitted diseases. Some STDs are incurable, like herpes and the human papilloma virus, so while they can be treated, people who contract them may experience flare-ups and even pass them on to future sexual partners.
There is no way to prevent teenagers from having sex, and though as parents we try to convey the importance of practicing sexual responsibility, not all teenagers understand the huge risks involved in unprotected intercourse. This doesn’t just apply to teenagers, but to anyone who may have multiple sexual partners and no desire to become pregnant.
To prevent the spread of STDs, always practice safe sex (such as a condom,) or abstinence.