Choosing a method of contraception is always a difficult choice. I didn’t put a huge amount of thought into it as a teenager and started taking a progesterone only pill without much thought of the consequences. When I stopped taking it in my early twenties, my periods didn’t come back straight away as I’d expected. When they did, they were shorter and ten times as painful as before. After seeing a gynaecologist, I was told that I’d developed Polycystic Ovaries which was one of the side effects of the pill that I was taking. Of course, I hadn’t looked at the rare side effects as I didn’t think that they would happen to me.
I tried the Nexplanon implant but found that it was unsuitable for me and I had it removed after about a year. The only option left for me was to get a coil (IUD), but my husband had concerns over this type of contraceptive device, so we decided against it.
As I was having regular periods, I decided to try Natural Cycles in order to find out if and when I ovulated every month. I don’t use Natural cycles as a form of contraceptive. For me, it’s more about tracking my cycle and seeing how my polycystic ovaries affect my ovulation times each month. I know that Natural Cycles gets a lot of bad press for people getting pregnant whilst using the app, but if you use condoms or abstain on the days that you know that you’re fertile, then you won’t be at high risk of getting pregnant. Of course, no form of contraceptive is 100% effective. You can also use Natural Cycles if you are using a non-hormonal IUD.
How Natural Cycles works:
You use a basal thermometer to take your temperature every morning. This has to be done at around the same time every day before you get out of bed. If you work irregular shifts, then Natural Cycles may not be suitable for you. The app will calculate if you are fertile or not. You can use Natural Cycles to plan, prevent or track a pregnancy. On fertile days, if you are trying to prevent a pregnancy, you should abstain or use condoms. Over time, the app will become more accurate about predicting when you ovulate and when your next period is likely to be. For the first few months, you should use the app with caution if you are using it as your sole form of contraceptive, especially if you have just come off a hormonal form of contraception. If you are using the app to prevent a pregnancy, then you will have red and green days. As the app gets more familiar with your cycle, you will get more green days. Every day you enter information such as your temperature, whether you’re on your period, results of an ovulation test, if you’ve had protected sex or not and there’s a notes section at the bottom for additional information. The app can also tell you if you haven’t ovulated that month or if you need to take a pregnancy test.
Why Natural Cycles is a good option for me:
- I am married
- I get up at the same time every day
- I don’t drink
- My husband is happy to use condoms on my fertile days
- I am at a point in my life where an unplanned pregnancy wouldn’t be a huge issue
Why are so many women swapping to ‘digital birth control’?
I think the main reason why women no longer want to take hormonal contraceptives is that the side effects of them can be so severe. Mood swings, weight gain, depression, heavy periods, no periods etc. The list of side effects is vast. There are also more serious side effects such as blood clots and osteoporosis that have to be considered. I can’t take the combined pill as I’m a high risk for stroke on that medication. Tracking your period gives you power over your fertility and there are no unwanted side effects or adverse effect on your health. Using a thermometer and an app to determine when I’m fertile, is not something that I would have done when I was younger and lived a different lifestyle. Now I am married and past the age of 25, the thought of getting pregnant by accident no longer scares me. of course, if an unwanted pregnancy is something that you would rather avoid, then using a digital form of birth control might not be the best option for you.
If you want to swap to a natural form of contraception or you want to know more about your cycle with a view to getting pregnant in the future, then Natural Cycles might be for you.
Find out more about Natural Cycles here.
Get 10% off an annual subscription and a free thermometer here.