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Fertility app found to rival the Pill at preventing pregnancy

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By John Glenday, Reporter

April 13, 2016 | 2 min read

A fertility app touting itself as an alternative to the contraceptive pill has found support from a new study which showed it to be just as effective – and without the side effects common to the oral treatment.

Natural Cycles aims to identify a woman’s natural fertility window by monitoring daily fluctuations in body temperature, which must be manually inputted to the smartphone app. Armed with this information it will then inform the user when they are ovulating, indicating whether it is a safe sex ‘green’ day or ‘red’ moment when a pregnancy is possible.

A study of 4,054 Swedish women aged 20-35 who made use of the app found that this technique was just as likely to prevent pregnancy as the pill, which is linked to negative side effects including decreased libido, depression and blood clots.

Study author Professor Kristina Gemzell said: "It is important to increase choice among contraceptives for women and inform them about their pros and cons. This work is an important step towards understanding how new technologies can improve old methods.”

Overall the study found that when used correctly Natural Cycles reduced unplanned pregnancies to just five in every 1,000 women – rising to seven in 100 for those who sometimes ignore its advice. Comparable figures for the Pill are three in 1,000 and nine in 100 respectively.

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