Natural Cycles

An FDA-approved contraceptive app

Our favorite thing about Natural Cycles is that it gives people an alternative option to hormonal birth control. However, it’s also definitely not for everyone.

  • Privacy

    The company does collect your data but anonymizes it.

  • Efficacy

    The app's efficacy percentage is low in comparison with other birth control options

  • Convenience

    You have to build a strict habit around taking your temperature every single day.

  • Transparency

    Natural Cycles lays out a big disclaimer about the risks related to using the app as your birth control.

  • Accessibility

    Natural Cycles is on the expensive side at $89.99 per year.

The app basically digitizes a known practice of contraception called the fertility awareness method, which means using signs and symptoms of fertility during the menstrual cycle to avoid or plan pregnancy. Unlike other period-tracking apps, Natural Cycles requires you to take your temperature every morning, information it then uses to guess your ovulation day based on your average cycle length. You can also give the app more information — it lets you track periods and spotting, protected and unprotected sex, ovulation test results, cervical mucus, your sex drive, physical pain you might be feeling, and emotions. For those that prefer a data-driven approach to cycle tracking, the app might be a fit with its slick and intuitive features.

Pros

  • When you first sign up you’re presented with a pretty blatant disclaimer where Natural Cycles lays out the risks of using the app as your preferred form of birth control

  • Natural Cycles is 93% effective with typical use and 98% effective with “perfect” use

  • The app will err on the side of caution by showing additional “fertile” days when it doesn’t have enough information from the user

  • Users can easily switch from using the app for birth control to using the app for pregnancy planning

Cons

  • You have to remember to take your temperature very consistently every single day

  • Many factors can influence body temperature readings, such as drinking habits, medication, or illness

  • On fertile days, you have to abstain from sex or use protection such as condoms to prevent pregnancies

  • The app is ill-suited for people who have irregular periods

  • If you are on hormonal birth control, this is not the app for you

  • While other period tracking apps are free, Natural Cycles costs $9.99 per month (or $89.99 per year) to use

Tips

  • You can test out the app in “Demo Mode” to see if it’s a good fit for you

  • The app will take a few cycles to get to know your personal cycle

What does the company do with your data?

How effective is Natural Cycles?

Who is it right for?

Contributor Notes

Kitt M.
40, Female, Margate, UK

Pros: Fairly easy to use and clear output. Cons: Reliant upon you to remember to measure in the morning.

Anonymous
34, Female, Atlanta, GA

It's pretty accurate for me. I appreciate the reminders for home breast exams, info on different health issues, etc. But it is really annoying to take my temp every day. I keep regular hours / sleeping schedule, so that wasn't a change for me. But to think about taking my temp before getting up first thing is a pain. Sometimes I am great, sometimes I fall out of the habit for months. It is still pretty accurate as to when my cycle starts & changes, but to actually use this product to its whole ability is a lifestyle commitment.

Sarah W.
Female

It was one of the only birth control methods I could find that was really hormone-free. It is very easy, you just have to take your temperature right when you wake up and once the app gets to know your normal body temperature it can tell you what the fluctuations mean (i.e. when you are ovulating and such).

  • Privacy

    The company does collect your data but anonymizes it.

  • Efficacy

    The app's efficacy percentage is low in comparison with other birth control options

  • Convenience

    You have to build a strict habit around taking your temperature every single day.

  • Transparency

    Natural Cycles lays out a big disclaimer about the risks related to using the app as your birth control.

  • Accessibility

    Natural Cycles is on the expensive side at $89.99 per year.

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