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Natural Cycles offers an alternative birth control or pregnancy planning method, which is drug and hormone free. A person can use the app to know when they are fertile, which can help with planning a pregnancy or as a birth control method.

This article discusses Natural Cycles, its effectiveness, and alternative forms of birth control.

Natural Cycles came about after a couple looking for an effective birth control method decided to start a business. The company uses a smartphone app to track fertility as a method of planning or preventing pregnancy. This means a person may not experience side effects more common with other types of birth control, such as the oral contraceptive pill.

Learn more about types of birth control.

At the time of writing, Natural Cycles has an average customer rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars on its Trustpilot page.

Positive reviews frequently comment on the product’s effectiveness and good customer service from the company. Many of the reviews discuss the lack of side effects in comparison to other birth control methods and the ability to plan pregnancies more easily.

However, negative reviews mostly cite refund issues, while others noticed the company was taking money out of their accounts after canceling their subscriptions. Some reviews also discussed unplanned pregnancies that have occurred while using the app.

Firstly, a person purchases a Natural Cycles plan and downloads the companion app.

They then need a basal thermometer — if they purchase an annual subscription to the service, this thermometer comes with the plan. People on a monthly subscription can also buy the thermometer separately from the company or a pharmacy.

Before the app is ready to take thermometer readings, a person needs to input details regarding their period cycle.

When individuals wake up in the morning, they need to use the thermometer to take their temperature. They then input this data into the app. If they are unwell and think their temperature may be affected, they can choose not to input the data that day.

The app will then analyze the temperature data alongside the period cycle data. Natural Cycles can then indicate to a person whether the day is a fertile or nonfertile day for them.

In addition, people can add cycle symptoms, mood, and sexual activity. The app can also provide premenstrual syndrome alerts and instruct when a person should carry out a breast exam.

Research indicates this basal temperature, which people take after a period of rest, is a useful tool in determining ovulation. However, environmental factors can also affect this metric, making it harder to determine ovulation accurately. For the best results, individuals need to record these temperatures every day at the same time.

Additionally, a 2017 study on breastfeeding women concluded that online natural family planning programs could be effective. The pregnancy rates were 3 per 100 users with correct use and 14 per 100 users with typical use.

According to the Natural Cycles website, the app is 93% effective with typical use and 98% with perfect use.

A 2015 study examined the effectiveness of the Natural Cycles app on 317 women. The researchers found that only 0.05% of nonfertile days were false predictions, indicating that the Natural Cycles app is an effective natural birth control method.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also given its approval for the app.

Natural Cycles is not a free service.

It offers two available plans: annual or monthly. At the time of publishing, the yearly subscription costs $49.99 per year, which works out as approximately $4.17 a month. A basal thermometer comes with this subscription.

Alternatively, a person can purchase the monthly plan and pay $6.99 per month. While this plan does not come with a basal thermometer, people can buy one from the company for $10.

The Natural Cycles app also features a free demo mode.

An individual can also purchase their Natural Cycles subscription using their Family Savings Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA). To do this, people can use a receipt from Natural Cycles to get a reimbursement. Alternatively, they can purchase the app using their FSA or HSA credit card directly here.

A person can cancel their membership at any time. However, they may not receive a full refund on payments they have already sent.

Before using Natural Cycles, a person may wish to consider the advantages or disadvantages of this service.

Although Natural Cycles appears to be a suitable method for pregnancy planning and birth control, a person may wish to explore alternatives.

Learn more about nonhormonal birth control.

Menstrual cycle and fertility tracking apps, such as Flo, may provide a similar service. In particular, Flo is free to download and tracks a person’s period cycle, ovulation, and fertility window. It will also notify the user about ideal days for conception. Additionally, people can generate their data into charts.

Learn more about fertility tracking apps.

Online pharmacies

Some online pharmacies, such as Nurx and Hers, offer birth control options to purchase online.

Hers offers a small range of contraceptive pills. An individual can speak with a licensed medical provider to determine which pill would be best for them. However, this service is not free.

Nurx offers the choice between the pill, the shot, and the ring, with prices starting from $15. Alternatively, a person can use their health insurance to get the medication for free. They can request a prescription at any time and have them delivered to their home.

Learn more about online pharmacies.

Additional alternatives

Examples of alternative birth control methods listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) include:

  • intrauterine contraception
  • implant
  • shots
  • oral contraceptives
  • patch
  • vaginal ring
  • diaphragm or cervical cap
  • sponge
  • male and female condoms
  • spermicides

The CDC also offers tips on getting pregnant. These include consulting with a doctor, not drinking or smoking, and maintaining a moderate weight.

Below are some common questions and answers about Natural Cycles.

Does Natural Cycles work?

According to the previously cited 2015 study, Natural Cycles was effective and generated only 0.05% false results for nonfertile days.

However, a person needs to use this app for a few months before the app can calculate results accurately.

Is Natural Cycles FDA approved?

Yes, Natural Cycles has approval from the FDA.

What is the difference between Natural Cycles and other birth control apps?

Natural Cycles claims to offer the first birth control app with FDA approval and a CE mark. The company’s app is also specific to a person as it uses their basal temperature data. Many alternative apps simply assume an individual’s cycle is 28 days long.

Natural Cycles is an FDA-approved app that can help indicate a person’s fertility window, which can help with birth control and pregnancy planning.

An individual needs to take their temperature in the morning, after a period of rest, with a basal thermometer. However, people may not see accurate results until after a few months of data input.

Please note: Medical News Today does not imply warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or endorse any of these applications. Nobody at MNT has evaluated these apps for medical accuracy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them unless otherwise indicated.