Everyone is talking about the Natural Cycles app right now...
You may have seen quite a bit of chat surrounding an app called Natural Cycles, which is said to offer a ‘natural family planning’ method to women over the age of eighteen.
Branded as hormone-free, this method of contraception is said to help you avoid pregnancy without any of the side-effects that are often associated with other types of contraception such as The Pill.
And it seems to have gained quite a bit of popularity too; boasting 700,000 active subscribers, according to The Telegraph.
You may have seen that it’s been making headlines around the world, thanks to a number of women coming forward to claim that they fell pregnant whilst using the app.
According to multiple news reports, Stockholm South General Hospital in Sweden contacted the Swedish Medicines Agency after 37 women (who were all said to be using Natural Cycles as their method of contraception) sought abortions at the end of 2017.
A spokesperson for the app has responded to these reports, saying that Natural Cycles is ‘93% effective’.
‘At first sight, the numbers mentioned in the media are not surprising given the popularity of the app and in line with our efficacy rates,’ he said.
‘As our user base increases, so will the amount of unintended pregnancies coming from Natural Cycles app users, which is an inevitable reality.’
He continued: ‘Today there is a big trend for women to move away from hormonal contraception, and Natural Cycles can provide a helpful option for these women. We therefore expect, in fact, overall to decrease the unwanted pregnancy rates because we’re increasing contraceptive choice, and see that many of our users are women that have not used any type of contraception before.’
It has also been reported that Natural Cycles is not an approved contraceptive in the US, and has instead been marketed as a fertility monitor.
So, how does Natural Cycles work?
According to the website, the app’s algorithm ‘analyses your body temperature’ to inform you where you’re at in your cycle. You will then, therefore, know whether you’re fertile and, ultimately, whether you need to use a method of contraception to protect against pregnancy.
Natural Cycles says it can do this by measuring your body temperature first thing in the morning – to read hormone levels – using a two decimal basal thermometer.
The website states that the algorithm also accounts for other factors such as ‘sperm survival’ and ‘cycle irregularities’ so that you ‘only use protection when you need to.’
It needs to be pointed out that this also means that users of Natural Cycles won’t be protected against STIs.