Natural Cycles App Review: Use Your iPhone as Birth Control

The Natural Cycles app (free) is a women’s health app. It has both a setting for contraception and conception. Although there are loads of apps geared toward doing the same tasks, this app is different. This is the first women’s health app to be officially certified as birth control by the European Union. Not only that, but the app uses a very intelligent algorithm to determine fertility and study women’s reproductive health. It is one of the largest women’s health studies ever conducted in the history of women’s health and one of the only studies ever conducted about women’s cycles and natural birth control. That is both amazing and elicits an “about time.”

Related: Top 5 Free Wellness Apps for HealthKit Integration

The Natural Cycles app was created by Elina Berglund, a particle physicist who was part of the team that won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. After discovering the subatomic particle known as the Higgs boson, Berglund turned her attention to another quest: creating an app to prevent pregnancy. Not only that, but Berglund has designed one of the largest advancements in reproductive, or contraceptive, technology since the relaunching of the IUD. In fact, Natural Cycles offers a solution no other form of birth control has yet been able to offer. It provides a non-hormonal, non-invasive, non-permanent, non-barrier-related, reversible, no-side-effect birth control option that previously hasn’t existed. Most importantly, the app is effective. According to the Natural Cycles website it has similar effectiveness to other conventional methods:

“During one year, 5 women out of 1000 get pregnant due to a falsely attributed green day. 7 women out of 100 get pregnant during one year due to all possible reasons (e.g. having intercourse without protection on red days or failure of the contraceptive method used on red days).”

For more about the science behind the app and to view how Natural Cycles stacks up to other forms of contraception, visit their website.

So how does the app work? Thankfully, it is pretty low maintenance. In setup, you select whether your goal is to conceive or to prevent conception. After that, you enter some specifics and personal information. After setup, you begin to measure your temperature each morning. The app uses temperature, a highly accurate assessment of fertility, to designate red (fertile) and green (not fertile) days. Also, the app uses the the details of a woman’s specific cycle, like menstruation days, to track fertility. In recent updates, hashtags are implemented in the “Notes” section to track things like #PMS. To improve accuracy, the app instructs users to use LH tests (a test that detects hormones related to ovulation), to determine which days are most fertile and pinpoint ovulation. For further instruction on setup and use, visit the Natural Cycles’ website or find the app on the app Store.

My experience with the Natural Cycles app has been great. I selected the “prevent pregnancy” option for the app. When I first started using it, I did have a lot of red days. That is something I was not expecting, though it is logical. Until the app figures out your specific and unique cycle, you will see a lot of red days on your calendar. I highly suggest using LH tests in addition to taking your temperature. It helps the app get all the information it needs, which gets you more green days. I have not found taking my temperature each morning to be any more burdensome than remembering to take a birth control pill. In my opinion, the app is very low maintenance.

With the app, you can be logged in to your account from multiple devices. This is helpful if you want to share your fertility information with your partner or you want to access the information from another device.

There are two drawbacks to this app. First, it does take a long time to familiarize it with your cycle. This was surprising to me, but it does make sense. I am glad the app errs on the side of caution and indicates more fertile days than necessary. In my case, I would not want it the other way around. Second, there is a subscription fee ($9.99/month or $79.99/year), so this is not a free app. Part of what sets this app apart from any other natural planning contraception app is the science behind it. I understand that it doesn’t come free and that birth control in general is not free. However, I would have loved to see an accessible, reliable form of birth control available at no cost. I believe that is something women should have access to.

One thing to make sure to be aware of is that the app does not protect against STIs or STDs. Another form of protection is necessary for that.

Final Verdict

I highly recommend the Natural Cycles app and plan to continue to use it. It is reliable and easy to use. I love learning about my cycle as well as preventing pregnancy. Check it out!

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Author Details

Hannah Nichols's picture

Author Details

Hannah Nichols

Hannah Nichols is a freelance marketing consultant and writer. She is obsessed with audiobooks and podcasts and always asks people for recommendations. Hannah loves going to the gym and taking really long walks with friends. She enjoys traveling with her partner and her eight-year-old son.