It’s 2017 and we are living our lives through our phones – from paying bills to showing the world the latest Instagrammable coffee shop we’ve stumbled upon. So it was only a matter of time before our birth control habits got a digital makeover too. Enter Natural Cycles, an app designed to monitor your menstrual cycle and give you the green light – literally – as to when you’re fertile.
It’s the work of Swedish physicist couple Elina Berglund and Raoul Scherwizl, who’s goal was to create a form of contraception without any of the unpleasant side effects that accompany others. It is the first birth control app that has been government-approved for use and it claims to be “as effective as the pill but using only mathematics.” So how exactly does it work and is it the right choice for you?
The app is programmed by an algorithm that monitors determining factors of your fertility such as temperature fluctuations, sperm survival and cycle irregularities. When a woman ovulates, her body temperature rises and stays there throughout the remainder of her cycle. Natural Cycles comes with a thermometer so you simply take your temperature every morning, enter it into the app and ta-da! Red – shows that you are fertile and green, that you are not.
This might seem quite basic but this is where that fancy algorithm steps in. With daily use, it can not only tell you when you’re fertile but it can predict it too. The five days before ovulation when sperm can linger in the body are played out in real time with the app. As a result, the app not only detects what stage of a cycle you’re in but ovulation and fertility too.
As it’s relying heavily on the age-old method of “fertility awareness” it won’t be the most reliable choice for women who experience frequent changes within their cycles. However Scherwizl told Business Insider, “in the end, what we want to do is add a new method of contraception that women can choose from without side effects. I think there are many women who this will be great for.”
While it is a positive development in the field of contraception due to the fact that it’s a hormone-free method, it remains to be seen whether Irish women will put their trust in a smartphone app over the contraceptive Pill. Would you?
Sign up for the Natural Cycles app here.