Using natural methods to determine a woman's fertile phase and prevent pregnancy is as effective as taking the Pill, researchers have shown.
According to scientists at Heidelberg University in Germany, the 'sympto-thermal' (STM) contraception method, which predicts a woman's fertile phase by measuring body temperature and examining cervical secretions, is just as effective at preventing pregnancy as the contraceptive pill.
The rate of unplanned pregnancies among couples who avoided sex during the woman's fertile phase was 0.4 per cent per year, similar to that of the Pill and lower than the 0.6 per cent rate when using condoms.
Lead researcher Petra Frank-Herrmann said that the effectiveness of STM was comparable to the effectiveness of modern contraceptive methods and that the method was "an effective and acceptable method of family planning".
"However, in contrast to the oral contraceptive pill or other family planning methods, STM needs more engagement and time to learn it," she advised.
The study, which involved 900 women, is published online in the journal Human Reproduction.
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