There's a new concept to contraception, and you may start seeing more advertising for it soon.
It's an app, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just gave it the green light to start marketing.
Natural Cycles claims to help prevent pregnancy by allowing women to track the days they are most fertile. It uses a woman's monthly cycle information and their body temperature, which users input daily.
The app provides a calendar of green and red days. Green days indicate you're not fertile, while red days suggest you are.
The app claims its’s 93 percent effective if used correctly. That estimate may be high though.
Planned Parenthood, in general, claims fertility awareness is only between 76 and 88 percent effective.
Regardless, the app does nothing to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
The president of Advocates for Youth, a national organization that promotes young people’s rights to sexual health information, says there are some concerns surrounding the app.
“Especially for many younger women, their cycle isn’t exactly regular, so if you've got an irregular cycle or you really don’t understand the implications of using fertility awareness, it’s a tough method to use,” explains Deb Hauser. “It’s not by any means foolproof.”
The Natural Cycles app costs $80 for a year or $10 a month.
The free trial offer isn't really going to help you, because it takes a few months for the app to get to know your body.