You should know this before quitting birth control and going hormone-free

Thinking about going hormone-free? First, find out whether it’s the right contraceptive for you.

The Swedish App Natural Cycles has been around for over two years, but it’s slowly been gaining traction all over the world. It now has over 1.5 million users, and a majority of their customers are in the UK.

Getting over the controversy

When Natural Cycles (NC°) first launched, there was much skepticism over the product’s credibility. The application claims to be around 98% effective with perfect use, and 93% effective with regular use, however stories of women getting pregnant after using the app started to make the headlines.

Elina Berglund, co-founder of Natural Cycles explained:

That is the downside of working with contraception. Since no contraception is 100%, there will always be pregnancies. We very much empathize with all women that experienced an unwanted pregnancy but that is unfortunately what happens.

Despite the scary headlines, the birth control app was approved as a contraceptive by the FDA, and now hundreds of thousands of women around the world swear by it.

How does it work?

First, you need to download the app on your smartphone. Natural Cycles is a paid application which costs £6.99 per month.

To make the process as effective as possible, you need to have a thermometer on deck. You have the option of getting a basal body thermometer (BBT) from the NC° company, or you can use your own.

The application is heavily database driven, so you will need to add information on your period cycles and your symptoms. Additionally, every morning you need to measure your basal body temperature and input the numbers into the app. Your body temperature is slightly higher right after you finish ovulating so by regularly monitoring your temperature, the application will be able to accurately predict the days you are fertile. Accordingly, you will be able to see whether or not you can have unprotected sex that day.

Word of caution

Though this is a hormone-free contraceptive, you still have to be extremely diligent with it. That means, taking your temperature every morning, as soon as you wake up.

Dr. Katherine Varda Schwab, a Gynecologist in Seattle spoke with Time and said:

Taking your basal body temperature should be done before you move out of bed in the morning. And depending on how well you wake up, getting that accurate reading is really difficult and usually takes months of practice, because you literally have to do it before you get up to pee or move your body.

Experts say that these applications should only be used by someone who has consistent menstruation and ovulation cycles for at least three consecutive months. Moreover, it takes a couple of weeks for the algorithm to precisely predict your natural cycle. So, if you’re planning to go hormone-free with Natural Cycles, take a few months to get to know your body first, talk to your gynaecologist, and make an informed decision.

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