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Natural Cycles vs. the Pill: the "Anti-Hormone" Campaign

March 31, 2018
Katie Visco

It isn't uncommon for companies to use influencers to promote products. That basically means that advertisers pay celebrities to promote their product on social media. However, this advertising tactic has spread to birth control. Natural Cycles is an app that promotes hormone free birth control by using their app.

This method (also known as the calendar method) requires users to take their basal temperature every morning (it gets higher when you're ovulating) and cervical mucus tests. Then the user will record those results in the app and the app will tell you which days it is safe to have unprotected sex. Since the pill came out in 1960, it was the key to really taking control of your sex life. Now there seems to be a movement going against the thing that gave us the sexual freedom and fertility control in the first place.

For those women who aren't interested in the pill, an IUD or any other form of hormone birth control, this app is something they've been waiting for. "Clean living" has become a lifestyle choice--things like gluten free, fat free and now hormone free.

The pill doesn't work for everyone, and that is okay. Every woman is different and we shouldn't judge them based on what birth control method they use. Women should be informed that this method requires a lot more maintenance on their part. For example, you need to make sure that your temperature and mucus tests are accurate. Those results are key in managing your sex life. Of course, there isn't a guarantee that the results from the app are 100% accurate, however Natural Cycle did perform a prospective study that got published in the journal Contraception. This prospective study looked at the overall effectiveness if the app, and there is 93% accuracy!

There is a slight disclaimer though. The app is only 93% accurate with perfect use. That means you need to wake up every day at the exact same time to take your temperature. It also recommends that you stick to one partner, rather than multiple. It is also recommended that you get formal training, sometimes the mucus tests can get a little gross, so it's good to be informed about things like the color, consistency, etc. Natural Cycles researcher Kristina Gemzell Danielsson suggests they should be prepared for the possibility that they'll still get pregnant, pointing out that "it's not a good option for women who absolutely want to avoid a pregnancy." 

There are multiple forms of birth control, and this is just one of them. Please talk to a gynecologist and see what works best for you.

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