Just want the link real quick?
If you’ve been thinking about signing up with Natural Cycles for natural birth control or to help you conceive, then here’s a discount to try it out for a year. Natural Cycles uses the individual biomarker, or fertility sign, of Basal Body Temperature (BBT) along with their proprietary algorithm to determine your fertility status each day. You just take your temperature with your BBT thermometer at the same time each morning when you first when you first wake up and enter that temp into the Natural Cycles app. Then Natural Cycles does the rest, and when you subscribe to a year of Natural Cycles, they even send you a BBT thermometer to use.
I’ve been trying out Natural Cycles alongside my regular Fertility Awareness Based Method (FABM) of fertility charting. FABMs use observations recorded, or charted, about your individual fertility signs to determine if you are fertile or infertile each day. On the days the method indicates you are fertile, you either abstain from sex or you use an Intercourse Dependent Birth Control (IDBC), also known as having “protected sex” (such as condoms, etc.), to avoid pregnancy. If you are trying to conceive, then you focus your timing of sex on the days the method indicates you are fertile.
I normally fertility chart using the Sympto Thermal Method according the the rules taught in the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler (TCOYF). The Sympto Thermal Method (STM) determines your daily fertility status by you recording your observations of Cervical Fluid (CF) and BBT. With STM both CF and BBT have to agree and are cross checked against each other for you to determine your fertility status each day. Natural Cycles is a BBT-only fertility monitor method. BBT is a highly reliable biomarker to indicate fertility status, which has been studied prior to and independent from the studies done by Natural Cycles. The difference between Natural Cycles and other FABM protocols that use BBT is the algorithm or the rules of the method, which determine fertility status.
Here are my thoughts on using Natural Cycles so far:
- I think Natural Cycles is a good option for women who are trying to conceive (TTC), especially if you aren’t sure if you are actually ovulating. For TTC, you can use Natural Cycles with any cycle variations, but I think it’s still a good idea to learn about CF for good timing of intercourse for conception.
- If you would like to learn to fertility chart, but want some extra assurance while you learn, I think Natural Cycles is a good option, which is less expensive than the Daysy, Lady Comp, and Pearly devices for temporary use of a Natural Cycles subscription (around less than 4 years or so). For longer term use, Daysy, etc. devices will be end up being cheaper in the long run.
- I’ve been told by a Natural Cycles company representative that they are currently shipping BBT thermometers to Saudi Arabia (where I live) in addition to most other places worldwide. So, if you also live in KSA, you should be able to get your BBT thermometer from Natural Cycles without some weird workaround shipping solution.
- I’ve also been told by that same Natural Cycles company representative that Natural Cycles has no plans to integrate with Tempdrop (a wearable BBT thermometer coming out soon). I can think of possible workarounds to this, especially on iPhones using the Health app. However, Natural Cycles does not consider any wearable BBT thermometer, including Tempdrop, reliable enough. Not sure what I think about that, but wanted to pass the info along for any of you who were hoping to pair these two things together.
- Natural Cycles has been a really easy and simple way for my husband to check my fertility status. I just add the app to his phone and sign in as me. When he opens the app he immediately sees if today is green or red.
- For women trying to avoid (TTA) pregnancy, I think Natural Cycles is good for women who are in regular cycles and whose cycle length doesn’t fluctuate more than 1-5 days in length over the past year. You don’t have to have a “perfect 28 day cycle,” but a consistent cycle length is important for this method.
- If your cycle length fluctuates a lot and you are TTA, such as a 25 day cycle followed by a 40 day cycle, you can still use Natural Cycles, but I would be extremely cautious (or avoid all together) the green (safe/infertile) days in the beginning of your cycle, in your Follicular Phase. The green days at the end of your cycle, in your Luteal Phase, will still be very reliable. If this is your situation, I can chat with you more about options for determining safe Follicular Phase days.
- I do not recommend Natural Cycles for use by women who are TTA and are postpartum and waiting on their return of fertility. So, if this is you, just wait until you get your cycle back if you want to try Natural Cycles. Also, if this is your situation, I can chat with you more about options for naturally and effectively avoiding pregnancy during postpartum amenorrhea.
- If you are very seriously TTA, then I would add a 2 day buffer on either side of the red (unsafe/fertile) days. The Natural Cycles studies have a high efficacy in avoiding pregnancy. However, the studies are only based on 6 cycles of use (as opposed to most birth control studies, which use 13 cycles), and when compared to my own charting it seems Natural Cycles consistently shortens the fertile window by 1 or 2 days on either side. I haven’t decided whether me considering those days fertile is overly conservative or if Natural Cycles is not conservative enough. It’s true that pregnancy is unlikely for those days. My guess is less than a 10% chance, but how much less than 10% is unclear. The Natural Cycles studies show the method to be 99.5% effective.
There are highly effective options other than Natural Cycles for naturally avoiding pregnancy or helping you conceive, again I’m very happy to chat more about this for anyone interested, but I think Natural Cycles is a great option for women who want a simple solution and don’t want to bother with learning to interpret a fertility chart. Totally a valid choice.