Natural Cycles Fertility App Offers the World’s First Contraception Software


Natural Cycles Fertility App Offers the World’s First Contraception Software

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Natural Cycles, an app that monitors a woman’s ovulation according to her basal body temperature, has recently been approved by health organizations as the world’s first contraception software

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or prevent it, you can now rely on a fancy app to help you out. This new app has a highly complex algorithm that can monitor the fertility of any female to tell her when she’s most and least likely to get pregnant. As a result, it’s become the very first National Health Service (NHS)-approved contraception software on the market. Natural Cycles has been around since 2013, and it’s already gained an impressive 150,000 users worldwide. The app was developed by Elina Berglund, a 32-year-old physicist in Switzerland alongside her husband Dr. Raoul Scherwitzl, a postdoctoral researcher.

Essentially they wanted to offer women a better way to control their pregnancies other than hormone-ridden birth control pills, condoms that might break, and risky IUDs. Their highly tested and reviewed app is now an industry-changing phenomenon.

“I wanted to give my body a break from the pill,” she told WIRED, “but I couldn’t find any good forms of natural birth control, so I wrote an algorithm for myself.”

There have been many apps designed to help you monitor your cycle and avoid pregnancy through natural means, but this is the very first to gain approval from both the U.S. National Health Service and the European Union. It was also given the Tüv Süd seal of approval, which is a German testing organization that governmental bodies all over the world, like the Department of Health, rely on to test the safety of new drugs and medical devices.

Their approval is based on extensive research. One of the strongest studies comes from the Karolinska Institute, which is one of the most trusted medical facilities in Sweden. They performed a series of tests, at the end of which they declared it just as effective at stopping pregnancy as the pill without any of the negative side effects.

App makers were also required to reveal every facet of its workings, including the details of the algorithm and any internal processes for the company. It also participated in two clinical trials which targeted women between the ages of 20 and 35. After a year, only 10 of the 4,000 women tested reported an unplanned pregnancy according to the app’s recommendations, which gives the app a 99.5 percent efficacy rating. That’s the same rating as the pill.

The app works by monitoring ovulation according to your basal body temperature. When a woman has ovulated, increased progesterone levels raise her body temperature. Women input their daily temperature readings, and the app compares them against others in the dataset. It recognizes when you’re most fertile because the temperature readings will rise.

On days in which a woman can have unprotected sex without getting pregnant, the app will show a green day on the calendar. When it’s not safe to have unprotected sex, the day will appear red in the calendar, and women should seek another form of protection for contraception.

The app costs £6.99 in the UK and $9.99 in the U.S. You can do a free one-month trial to see if you like it, but the app’s founders are hoping to offer the app free of charge to UK citizens through government subsidies. “Contraception is offered free of charge to the UK citizens and we will start to discuss with the NHS to cover Natural Cycles as well.”

There’s been a lot of promotion lately for a better form of contraception. In a campaign launched by Telegraph Women in 2015 called Take Back Birth Control, women were encouraged to find the best birth control that worked for them, not just the first option that their physician prescribed.

During this campaign, it became clear that more than 25 percent of women were concerned about the hormonal contraception they were taking. They were worried about the side effects on their bodies and the long-lasting hormonal impacts. The pill is the most common form of birth control, despite the many side effects it poses for women.

The app isn’t just exciting for women who don’t want to get pregnant, however. The app could also play a profound role in helping women become pregnant. It shows a woman’s most fertile days as well as when and if she has ovulated during the month.

It’s an exciting innovation for those who prefer to rely on natural means of birth control, but the founders warn that it’s not a perfect system. It’s proven just as effective as the pill as long as you don’t have unprotected sex on the days marked in red. Therefore, it requires constant thought and control on the part of the woman taking it.

Additionally, the most effective forms of birth control are intrauterine contraception devices or implants rather than the pill or natural birth control monitoring. Those who want a more sure method of birth control would be better off relying on one of these methods.

“Natural Cycles is not recommended to those who are very young or very keen to avoid a pregnancy since there are other more effective methods,” Kristina Gemzell Danielsson, lead study author at Karolinska Institute told WIRED. “The efficacy is far below that of intrauterine contraception or implants, but similar to that of the pill when used in real life.”

Additionally, study authors strongly advice against teenagers using this app for birth control. “Most of our users are 20-35 years old and less than 0.5 per cent of our users are below 20,” says Scherwitzl. “We do not have data for teenagers nor do we advertise to them. Our product is ideally suited for women in a relationship as well as women who feel bad from their current contraceptive. In order for it to work effectively, it is important to use protection on red days.”

Like any birth control, Natural Cycles has a few drawbacks. However, it has proven an excellent alternative to the pill and all its negative side effects.

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June 20, 2017 at 08:05AM