This fertility app can theoretically replace your birth control, but there are risks

Birth control is — understandably — an important topic for many women. And there are an increasing number of products and methods on the market, which means women have more options than ever before. But now a (very) old method is getting a high-tech update with this fertility-tracker app.

The app, called Natural Cycles, helps women perfect the rhythm method. If you’re unfamiliar, the rhythm method relies on tracking your ovulation cycles, theoretically allowing you to know the days of the month when you’re fertile/most likely to become pregnant.

But of course, like every form of birth control, the rhythm method is not 100% effective. In fact, according to Planned Parenthood, the method only has a success rate of 76%-88% — and that’s when it’s done correctly (as compared to condoms, which have an effectiveness rate of 98%, and hormonal birth control with a rate of 99% of course also only when used correctly). If you’re serious about remaining child-free, the rhythm method probably shouldn’t be your primary method of birth control.

On the positive side, tracking your fertility isn’t a bad thing in general, and is of course incredibly helpful if you’re currently trying to get pregnant.

If you’re interested in trying the app for yourself, you can download it via the Google Play store and sign up for either a monthly or annual subscription ($9.99/month or $79.99/year). Once you’re signed up, you’ll need to report your daily temperature using a basal thermometer, as well as input data about your menstrual cycle.

"Every cycle is different but the thing is you can only get pregnant [for] up to 6 days in one cycle," their website states. "We find those days for you. All you need to do is measure your temperature in the morning, enter it into the app and it will give you a red or a green day depending on whether you need to use protection."

And, while it goes without saying, we’ll say it anyway: This method only helps to prevent pregnancy — it does not protect against STIs. For that, you should 100% rely on condoms.

While we probably wouldn’t choose to use an app like Natural Cycles as our sole method of birth control, it definitely seems helpful for anyone out there looking to get more in touch with their body and fertility. When it comes to our health, knowledge is power, and we’re all for anything that helps us get there.

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