Is this the riskiest alternative to the contraceptive pill?

Natural Cycles is hormone-free and claims to be just as effective

In an ideal world – provided we’re not trying to get pregnant – most of us would like all of the sex with none of the side effects that come from birth control.

Arguably, the pill is one of our biggest contraceptive bugbears. From mood swings to weight gain and risk of more serious health complications (like blood clots) the pill might statistically be the most effective contraceptive method on the market, but increasing numbers of women are looking for an alternative.

Enter an all-natural fertility app which claims to have a success rate to rival its competitor:

Natural Cycles pinpoints when you’re the most fertile by analysing your daily body temperature measurements. Based on this, the app predicts when you will ovulate, giving you the green light – quite literally – on the days you can have sex, and the red light on days when it should be avoided.

We think this sounds more than a little risky, yet a study carried out at The Karolinska, one of Sweden’s most renowned medical institutes, examined how effectively the app prevented pregnancies and the results were surprising. Testing 4,054 Swedish women aged 20-35 for a year, the new method proved just as effective as the contraceptive pill.

The Natural Cycles app is also dual-purpose, so if you do decide to try for a baby it can help you conceive by tracking your fertility.

While on the surface this all sounds great, there are still a few issues with relying on an app to prevent pregnancy. Firstly, sperm can survive in the womb for up to seven days. It’s impossible to predict for sure when ovulation will begin, so the week prior should not be considered a safe zone.

Women have also reported a LOT of days in the red zone, with many being told they’re not allowed to have sex for up to half the month. And who needs that kind of restriction?

Hormone-free contraception might sound liberating, but like any other form of contraception it’s not without its drawbacks.

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