"There's an app for that" is making further inroads in the contraceptives arena. USA Today reports the FDA has approved marketing for the Natural Cycles app, which claims it can help prevent pregnancy by telling a woman what days are best for avoiding sex (marked "red" days) after she plugs in stats about her menstrual cycle and body temperature. "Consumers are increasingly using digital health technologies to inform their everyday health decisions, and this new app can provide an effective method of contraception if it's used carefully and correctly," an FDA director for women's health says in a news release. In Natural Cycles' case, the "typical use" failure rate (meaning unintended pregnancies for women using the app) was about 6.5%.
For comparison, STAT cites CDC stats to note the failure rate for the birth control pill is 9%, while condoms are 18% and the rhythm method is 24%. The IUD, meanwhile, comes in at less than 1%. However, Natural Cycles is already embroiled in some controversy: Per the Guardian, a British-based advertising standards group is investigating the app after reports filtered in of women getting pregnant while using it. A medical regulator in Sweden also looked into the app earlier this year after 37 women who went to the hospital for an abortion were said to have been using the app when they became pregnant, the Verge reported. "No contraception is 100% and unwanted pregnancies is an unfortunate risk with any contraception," the company said at the time, per Engadget. The app will run users $10 a month, or $80 annually. (Read more contraceptive stories.)