No hormonesClass: Behavioral

Fertility Awareness

Back to: Full Site NavigationSkip to: side effects sectionSkip to: Common concerns from users and pharmacists
6.904761904761905Fertility Awareness
Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.

Our bottom line

The fertility awareness method (FAM) - also referred to as rhythm method or natural family planning - requires observing and understanding your body in order to determine when your body is ovulating, or can get pregnant. It's hard to get right, so it isn't as effective as most other types of birth control.

What’s the failure rate?
of people using this method got pregnant in a year

This method is ranked 13 out of 17 birth control methods listed. The lower the number, the better.Source

More birth control methods


  • No hormones involved and is one of the most natural forms of birth control.
  • Helps you learn all about your body, which may come in handy when you do want to get pregnant.
  • Safe to do while breastfeeding.
  • There's an app for that! Clue helps you keep track of your ovulation cycle on your smartphone.


  • It takes a lot of time and learning to get it right, so effectiveness is relatively low.
  • Requires paying close attention and tracking all the time.
  • You'll have to abstain from sex for at least 10 days of every cycle.
  • During the abstinence period, it can be hard to refrain from sex in the heat of the moment.
  • Requires understanding and participation from both partners.
  • Not suitable for women who have irregular cycles.
  • Not suitable for women who are going through puberty, close to menopause, breastfeeding or just getting off hormonal birth control as the changes in hormones make the signs unpredictable.
  • Does not protect against STDs.