I Tried Natural Cycles. Here’s What You Need To Know
I've been on hormonal birth control since high school. It wasn't until recently that I started thinking about how I've been treating my body the exact same way I did in high school -- yikes!
To be 27 and still following the same routine when I was 16 gave me literal chills. I know my body and hormones change regularly, so have I just been ignoring my body with a drug I don't even entirely understand each day?
Within a few weeks, I booked an appointment with my gynecologist to talk about my new options. I told my doctor that I was interested in non-hormonal birth control and she told me about the copper IUD, condoms, and the sponge, which I had zero interest in.
Leaving frustrated, I went to my girlfriends for advice. Two out of three of them told me they use the pill, but one friend told me about Natural Cycles, the first FDA-cleared, non-hormonal birth control app that monitors your chance of pregnancy with nothing but a thermometer and an app.
I thought there is absolutely no way this is true. If I could have been monitoring my own chances of pregnancy all through my body temperature, I'm sure someone would have told me about it.
I laughed out loud at my friend. I was shocked that she was using a thermometer to find out when she was ovulating. She was in a long-time committed relationship. How had she not had any pregnancy scares?
I did a little more research on Natural Cycles and couldn't believe half of the things I read. For one, there are only 6 days a month when you can have a high rate of getting pregnant, and they can be detected by understanding your body temperature that day. This is because your body temperature rises after ovulation.
Digging further, I also learned
Natural Cycles is actually 98% effective with perfect use, 93% effective with typical use, and works from day 1 of use. Their website also calls out other methods' effectiveness rates, so I was able to see a range of methods and how they work to decide what's best for me.
I was hesitant I wouldn't be able to take my temperature each day as soon as I woke up and nervous that I'd read the app wrong. Then I read that even if I did forget to take my temperature every now and then, the effectiveness doesn't decrease. I'd just wind up with a few more red days, meaning I shouldn't have unprotected sex.
Eventually, I stopped taking my hormonal birth control, went ahead and ordered the thermometer, downloaded the app and got started.
Since I was previously on hormonal birth control, it took me an extra month for the app to really get to know my body and my period to regulate back to its natural cycle. Luckily, the app told me exactly what to expect in the first few months.
Once I felt like my body and the app were really aligned, I started to rely on the red and green days to tell me if it was safe to have sex without condoms or not.
Taking my temperature every morning was easy. I placed my thermometer on top of my phone on the nightstand every night, and as soon as my alarm went off in the morning, I took my temperature.
I was absolutely blown away within three months by how different my body felt coming off hormonal birth control. I lost a few pounds, I felt less randomly moody, and I felt more in touch with my body. I was able to start taking the time to listen to other healthy things it needed like exercise and even healthier food.
Choosing Natural Cycles was the kindest thing I ever did for my body. I feel more in control knowing I have all the answers I need regarding my fertility within myself -- I just needed to listen.
*You must be over the age of 18. Does not protect against STIs. Natural Cycles is 93% effective with typical use, 98% effective with perfect use. No method of contraception is 100% effective. Natural Cycles does not guarantee that you cannot get pregnant, it only informs you whether and when you can become pregnant based on the information that you enter into the application.