Your grandma probably called it the rhythm method. But today there are a variety of fertility awareness-based methods (FAM) – and thanks to technology, we’re once again talking about natural birth control. ‘I’ve seen an increased interest among single women, married women, women of all faiths and backgrounds,’ says Dr Marguerite Duane, associate professor of family medicine at Georgetown University and co-founder of FACTS, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to sharing the science around FAM.
It’s easy to see why, since hormones and implants can be a nuisance or come with side effects. And as long as you abstain from sex or use condoms during your baby making window (it varies from woman to woman and by method, but typically lasts eight to 12 days), ‘The rest of the time, you can have sex all day, every day and you won’t get pregnant,’ says Duane.
This may sound too good to be true – but FAM is increasingly backed by legit research. While past generations mostly relied on marking your period on a calendar and using maths to estimate when you’d ovulate (hence the rhythm method’s high failure rate), a more modern approach to FAM involves taking your temperature and observing the changes in cervical mucus (the egg white-like fluid you sometimes see on your undies), which more accurately predict peak fertility. A new crop of apps makes this easier than ever. O