Does tracking your menstrual cycle and ovulation schedule work as a sufficient method of birth control?
Tracking ovulation — the release of an egg — in order to prevent pregnancy is also known as a fertility awareness-based method (FAM) of birth control. FAMs are one of the oldest methods of birth control in the world. They work by keeping sperm out of the vagina in the days near ovulation, when a woman is most likely to become pregnant. To prevent pregnancy, women can abstain from vaginal sex or use an alternative method of birth control — like a condom or a sponge — on these days.
Twenty-four out of 100 couples who use FAMs each year will become pregnant if they don’t always use this method correctly or consistently. Like all birth control methods, FAMs are more effective when you use them correctly. But unlike many other birth control methods, FAMs can be tricky to always use correctly, especially for teens. That’s because teens’ menstrual cycles are more likely to be irregular than those of older women. The effectiveness of FAMs depends on how accurately you can predict ovulation, and this can be really hard to do.