An honest unsponsored post on Natural Cycles the natural contraceptive app

by - August 21, 2018

I mentioned Natural Cycles in a video before but I feel I must talk about it at length in a post here. Especially due to the articles about unwanted pregnancies as a result of using the app surfacing online I wanted to share my own experience of using the app.

Natural Cycles is the only certified contraceptive app in Europe and has recently been FDA approved in the USA. The app determines your fertile days through your basal body temperature and other information you input like your period and ovulation tests. After continued use you will get green days which indicate that you have a 'not fertile' day and red days where you are fertile and must use another form of non hormonal contraception.

Natural Cycles is a direct-to-consumer app, which means, you don't have to go through a doctor to get it. As with many direct-to-consumer products the app is advertised, everywhere, you can't have scrolled through social media without an ad or a sponsored post by an influencer on how easy it is to use and how it has changed their lives.

It definitely improved my life. It meant I didn't have to suffer the side effects of hormonal contraception but it meant that there were five times more risks of human error than missing a pill or breaking a condom.

Below are the things you should know that Natural Cycles don't make clear to you before you sign up:

You'll get a more accurate prediction of your green days if you take LH tests. 

LH tests are ovulation tests that help determine the time in the menstrual cycle when getting pregnant is most likely. The test detects a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. A rise in this hormone signals the ovary to release the egg.

You must wake up and go to bed at the same time every single day for contraception to be effective.

You cannot sleep more or less than 2 hours. Unless you zonk out as soon as you get into bed or check the time when you feel yourself getting sleepy I feel that it would be difficult to avoid errors. I am good at this, but for someone with an erratic lifestyle to learn this only after they signed up must make them feel slightly misled.

You can't get cold, fevers and hangovers often.

I am someone who always catches the cold but when inputing my temperature I always tap 'deviating temp' which means that my temperature may not be normal.

You can't travel often.

Jet lag and time zone differences add to more deviating temps and makes the app less reliable.

There were a lot of things I didn't learn about the app until I signed up for the annual subscription. As soon as I signed up the apps homepage filled with information I think I should have known before parting with my money. When you go to a doctor to discuss contraception they will lay out all the pros and cons and give a recommendation based on your medical history and lifestyle. The different thing about Natural Cycles is that it's a direct-to-consumer product. This means that they are essentially a business looking to make money on highlighting the great things about their product through a short 30 second ad. Although condoms are too direct-to-consumer products they only have one human error involved. Even when you visit the FAQ's of the website Natural Cycles are quick to skirt over the negatives.

Green days can change to red days days after you've had unprotected sex

Green days can change to red even days after you've had unprotected sex. You'll only know this if you've logged unprotected sex on what you thought was a green day. I take this to essentially mean that you should only be using this app if you will not be absolutely devastated by an unwanted pregnancy.

The company website states that the app is for "women between the ages of 20-40 who are in a stable relationship". Essentially you must be okay with getting pregnant as human error is extremely high for this app.

Working nightshifts and not having a regular sleep routine will decrease the effectiveness of contraception but that fact is not mentioned at all here.

If you are consistent with your sleep routine, in a committed relationship where an unintentional pregnancy is okay then Natural Cycles is for you. I just really hope that anyone who is sponsored to promote the app fit that description or at least highlight these factors and not brush over the cons like the app itself does.

I have really enjoyed getting to know my natural cycle and getting to learn how my body works off the pill. I'm going to continue using the app as it has worked for me but at the same time I felt that it was important to share a balanced view of the app. Let me know your thoughts on the app in the comments section below. Have you started using it?

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