- Algorithm: ★★★★★ 5/5
- Certifications: ★★★★★ 5/5
- Wearables: ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Effectiveness: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Last Updated: July 27, 2022
- Algorithm: ★★★★★ 5/5
- Certifications: ★★★★★ 5/5
- Wearables: ★★★★☆ 4/5
- Effectiveness: ★★★☆☆ 3/5
Reinforcing your birth control
- Non-hormonal birth control
- Good effectiveness rate
- FDA-approved and CE-marked
- Suitable for planning and monitoring pregnancies
- Requires continuous use
- Doesn’t consider all factors affecting fertility
Contraception is a tricky topic, and what works for some women might not work for others. Here enters Natural Cycles, an alternative form of birth control! In this Natural Cycles review, we’ll tell you all you need to know about this alternative—what it is, how it works, and how effective it really is. Keep reading to get all the answers!
The Importance of Contraception
Before we dive into the details of using this birth control app, we need to talk about the importance of using contraception and finding the right method for you. Luckily, there are many birth control options to choose from, ranging from hormonal solutions—the pill, hormonal IUDs, and injections—to barrier methods (condoms), and natural forms of birth control.
In our Natural Cycles review for our UK readers, we explore a hormone-free contraceptive method, but we have to note this method is suitable for women who are at least 18 years old and are in a committed relationship. For anyone learning the ins and outs of the dating game and who might have multiple partners, it’s best to use a barrier method, i.e. a condom, as it can also protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Choosing a Method
It’s crucial that you find a suitable birth control method that will be the best fit for you. Don’t let your partner pressure you into using a certain method or no contraception at all—take this as a red flag in the relationship.
If you’re wondering: ‘does Natural Cycles work?’ or whether it’s the right choice for you, don’t worry—you have plenty of other choices. If you’re unsure which one’s right, it’s best to consult a professional, as they’ll provide information on all the available methods and answer any questions you may have about a certain method. They can also advise you on which method might be the best choice based on your overall health and sexual activity.
What Is Natural Cycles?
Natural Cycles is a mobile app that can predict fertile days, helping women prevent pregnancy or plan one. Founded in 2014, the app aims to help women get in touch with their bodies and cycles, but more importantly, give them access to a natural birth control method. Natural Cycles reviews confirm that it’s currently the only app that tracks the cycle and has been approved as a viable method of contraception.
Fertility tracking allows women to take charge of their reproductive health and increase their levels of fertility awareness. The Natural Cycles app allows for this, while also providing effective non-hormonal birth control with no negative side effects. This is a great choice for women who want to avoid the negative effects of hormonal contraceptives and those who can’t use other contraceptive methods.
How Does Natural Cycles Work?
Once you understand what Natural Cycles is, you’ll also want to know how to use the app. Below, you’ll find instructions on how to do it and an explanation of how it works.
Using Natural Cycles
To help you better understand the process, we listed all the steps you need to take and explained the importance of each:
- Install the Natural Cycles app – Women need to install the app on their phone, purchase a subscription (monthly or annual), and enter information about their cycle.
- Get a basal thermometer – A basal thermometer is a must—you can get the Natural Cycles thermometer or any other basal decimal thermometer from a pharmacy.
- Measure basal temperature – Natural Cycles reviews for the UK market emphasise the importance of this step. As soon as you wake up, measure your basal temperature, preferably at the same time every day. Place the thermometer under your tongue as far back as you can, and wait for the beep.
- Enter the temperature in the app – When you get the exact temperature, enter it in the app for the algorithm to calculate your ovulation.
How Does It Really Work?
For this Natural Cycles app review, we looked into the inner workings of the mobile app and discovered the Natural Cycles algorithm is designed to analyse the information on menstrual cycles and temperature readings to calculate fertile days.
Fertile days will appear in red (ideal time to conceive), while non-ovulating days will be marked green. However, most days will appear red during the first few months until the algorithm learns more about your cycle.
Based on this, you’ll know when it’s safe to have unprotected sex and when to abstain if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy. Don’t let lust overtake you and lead you to have unprotected sex on red days—if you do have sex, use a condom.
The app also tracks PMS, and allows you to enter information on your libido and any mood changes.
How Effective Is Natural Cycles?
Whenever we discuss contraceptive methods, the issue of effectiveness becomes an integral part of the conversation. So, naturally, we need to ask whether Natural Cycles is a genuinely effective method of contraception.
According to the official Natural Cycles website, the app is 93% effective with common use, i.e. use that leaves room for human error. With perfect use, which eliminates the margin of error, the app is 98% effective.
It’s important to remember that no birth control method is 100% effective, and when we compare Natural Cycles to other forms of birth control, we can see it’s more effective than some (the pill, condoms) and less effective than others (copper IUDs, female sterilisation).
So, is Natural Cycles effective? In short, yes—but you need to keep in mind it’s not 100% accurate, and it’s possible for an unplanned pregnancy to occur.
Natural Cycles Main Features
For this review, we decided to look into the app’s main features and tell you exactly how they work. So, if you have any concerns about the app’s accuracy or whether it’s legit, don’t skip this section.
Natural Cycles Algorithm
The majority of fertility apps provide you with information based on the assumption your cycle is 28 days long. While writing this Natural Cycles review for our UK readers, we took a closer look at the algorithm used by the app to see whether it’s any different from those used by similar apps. Here’s what we found.
The Natural Cycles algorithm is tailored to predict fertile days based on each user’s specific data. After entering data about your period and your daily basal temperature for two to three months, the algorithm gets to know you and can correctly predict when you’re ovulating.
Natural Cycles Certifications
Having been assured of the Natural Cycles effectiveness, you’ll also be pleased to know the app is certified and completely legitimate. In the US, it’s been cleared as contraception by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it’s CE-marked for use in Europe, meaning it’s completely safe to use. UK residents are free to use the app, although they’d have to have a subscription, as it’s still not covered by the NHS, unlike other contraceptives.
Natural Cycles Wearables
The newest and most exciting Natural Cycles feature is the wearable. While researching the app for this Natural Cycles review in 2022, we discovered Natural Cycles has introduced a wearable device to be worn throughout the night that measures the temperature during the night and records all fluctuations. If you wear the device, you don’t have to measure your temperature in the morning—all you need to do is check the app to see if you’re in the fertility window. However, note that this isn’t as accurate as using a thermometer, although it’s much more convenient. If you want to try out this method, you need to sign up to the Natural Cycles waitlist.
Ease of Use
While reviewing the Natural Cycles app, we tested the ease of use. Natural Cycles reviews confirm downloading and installing the app is very straightforward: all you need to do is fill in your info, choose a subscription, and select whether you want to prevent, plan, or monitor a pregnancy.
The only more complicated aspect of using the Natural Cycles app arises when you need to remember to take your temperature every day.
Price is an important aspect of using the service. Luckily, Natural Cycles offers a free demo mode you can use once you download the app, allowing you to get a feel of the app before purchasing a subscription.
So, how much is a Natural Cycles subscription? Well, you can choose between a monthly or an annual subscription.
- Annual – £59.99 billed yearly (£5/month); thermometer included
- Monthly – £8.99 billed monthly (£8.45); plus a £10 one-time payment for a thermometer
The Natural Cycles prices are reasonable when you consider the app offers completely natural, non-hormonal birth control. However, we have to note that almost all other methods of contraception are free through the NHS.
As for the Natural Cycles customer support, there’s not much to it. For this Natural Cycles app review, we researched the offered support and found that users can submit a request to contact the support team after choosing what the request pertains to from a list of options. Then, they need to fill out the request form as accurately as possible and wait for a response.
There’s also a comprehensive FAQs section, so it’s possible to find a solution to your problem there, too.
With contraception, it’s important to have an alternative choice. Wirh this in mind, we compared the Natural Cycles app to some of the best similar apps available. In the table below, check out our comparison of Natural Cycles vs Daysy, Flo, and Clue.
|Win||Non-hormonal birth control||Predicts ovulation||Monitors menstrual flow and libido||Educational resources|
|Lose||Requires continuous use for accuracy||Technical difficulties||No alerts for emergency contraception||No fertility tracking|
|Best For||No negative side effects||Natural birth control||Tracking periods/ pregnancy||Tracking sleep activity & mental symptoms|
Natural Cycles is an excellent choice for women who want to become pregnant eventually, learn more about their cycle, and get more in touch with their bodies.
Natural Cycles — Yes or No?
After reading this far into the review, you may still be conflicted as to whether Natural Cycles is the right choice for you. To help you with your decision, we’ll tell you a few other things that might prove essential when making your decision.
The Natural Cycles effectiveness depends largely on how you use it—you need to take your temperature at least five days a week to get a valid reading, and only if you’re feeling perfectly healthy. If you’re unwell, your temperature can fluctuate and mess up the results.
Furthermore, you need to take the temperature while you’re still in bed before you get up and do anything else, and it’s also advisable to do it at around the same time every day. If you feel like you can’t stick to this schedule, it’s best to consider other, less-demanding methods.
When (Not) to Use It?
It’s our stance, and Natural Cycles reviews by UK users concur, that you should use this app only if you’re in a committed relationship, have just one sexual partner, and are prepared to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.
Another thing to keep in mind before you buy a subscription is that Natural Cycles doesn’t consider some factors that influence fertility, such as sleep cycles, travel, alcohol consumption, stress, and illness. So, if you’re a frequent traveller, have an erratic sleep pattern, or you just want to drink and party, Natural Cycles probably isn’t a good fit for you.
Natural Cycles Review – Final Words
As an alternative form of contraception, Natural Cycles is a perfect solution for women who want to move away from hormonal contraceptives and take a natural approach to birth control.
With careful use, the Natural Cycles app is just as effective, if not more, than some other methods available to women, so it’s definitely worth trying it out and giving your body a chance to tell you how it works.
Natural Cycles is 93% effective with common use, and 98% effective with perfect use, meaning it’s a perfectly viable and effective contraceptive method.
In general, the Natural Cycles app needs to collect data from 2 or 3 cycles to give you a correct reading on your fertility status.
FDA-approved in the US and CE-marked for use in Europe, Natural Cycles is completely legit and perfectly safe to use as a form of contraception.
Our Natural Cycles review found all personal data collected by the app is safely stored and protected, and more importantly, Natural Cycles doesn’t sell or give access to your data to third parties.