There’s no doubt we live in a digital age. Our hobbies and habits are reflected in the apps we use; from food fasting to language learning, if you can think of it, there’s probably an app for it. Fertility is no exception, and learning about your body is becoming part of the everyday as a new category of health app enters the market for those wanting to plan or prevent pregnancy. Natural Cycles is fertility awareness for the digital age; the app uses an algorithm which analyzes basal body temperature to tell you when you can and can’t get pregnant. Natural Cycles is proven to be 93% effective with typical use and 98% effective with perfect use.
Here’s how an app like Natural Cycles makes it easy to learn more about your body:
Find your fertile window
The rhythm method and fertility awareness-based methods are nothing new, and if you’ve been trying for a baby or trying to avoid pregnancy, there’s a good chance you know about ovulation, peak fertility, and the “fertile window” (the period during your cycle when it’s possible for you to get pregnant). Natural Cycles goes one step further. The app is powered by an algorithm which analyzes daily body temperature and narrows down the fertile window by predicting ovulation. We all know knowledge is power, and in the hands of the user, this knowledge can be used to either plan or prevent a pregnancy.
Co-founder Elina Berglund created the app for herself, and used it to both prevent and plan pregnancy—she created Natural Cycles as a birth control method with the knowledge that she would want to start a family in the next few years and wanted to avoid hormonal birth control. The app has been available in Europe for the past few years but launched in the US this year.
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Learn the phases of the menstrual cycle
Knowing when we are fertile is just the first step in understanding where we are in our cycle. While terms such as “luteal” and “follicular” might sound like they’ve been dredged up from a biology textbook, seeing real data showing your cycle phases—as well as digestible breakdowns of heavy scientific terms—makes learning about your body a rewarding experience.
While many women may choose a birth control app first and foremost as a contraceptive method, learning about their bodies and the menstrual cycle in general often becomes an unexpectedly positive side-effect. A full study on the effectiveness of the birth control app is available to read online in the journal Contraception.
Track your period, predict PMS, and more
Ever been hit unexpectedly with agonizing cramps, or suddenly felt irritable out of the blue? It’s a regular part of many women’s lives. Being able to predict PMS through period tracking is another benefit of using a fertility tracking app. Notifications that let you know PMS is on its way is a useful feature that comes with regular period tracking. Plus, tracking your period can alert you to any abnormalities—like especially long or irregular periods—and can be a handy resource in appointments with your OB/GYN or fertility doctor.
As well as being useful in planning for our everyday lives, period tracking is also essential to understanding fertility, and the Natural Cycles’ algorithm requires period tracking data in order to identify the all-important fertile window.
Go beyond menstrual health
While there is so much an app can teach us about our cycles, it’s not just menstrual health that benefits from tracking in an app like Natural Cycles. Because you’re taking your temperature every day and adding it to the app, you’re more likely to know if you have a fever before you feel those telltale symptoms of a cold or flu. There’s also a feature to add deviating temperatures if you’re hungover or on medication.
Additionally, regular reminders and info on how to carry out self-breast exams (and the best time to do it) help keep us safe and healthy. Those hungry for an extra challenge can take part in quizzes or compare data with other users.
Follow a pregnancy
There is a third mode available within Natural Cycles. It’s called “follow a pregnancy,” and it helps women document their journey after they’ve used Natural Cycles in “plan” mode. As with the plan and prevent modes, there are helpful and informative in-app messages tailored to this stage in your life. At the end of the pregnancy, you are able to revert to using Natural Cycles as birth control.
Using the app means you can have control over tracking your own fertility in a way that wasn’t possible before the dawn of digitality. There’s no disputing that the era of femtech has arrived—and we predict more apps centered around women’s wellbeing are about to surge into the market.
This post was written in partnership with Natural Cycles.