The Telegraph is reporting on the study which was carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Healthcare. The research involved 4,000 Swedish women aged 20 – 35 and analyzed how effective the app was in preventing pregnancy.
The results of the study were most unexpected – the app is almost as effective as the pill in preventing pregnancy.
The app, which relies on bio-statistical algorithms, is simple to use and allows women to track the best time to conceive – or not to conceive – by predicting her fertility window. It does this by tracking a woman’s period and predicting her ovulation day.
In order to use the app correctly, women must record the temperature under their tongue and enter it into the app every morning. The app then determines how fertile she is on that day.
If the app gives a green signal, the woman is not fertile at the time and the risk of pregnancy is very low. If it’s red, she’s fertile and should avoid intercourse if she does not wish to become pregnant, this is not as precise for every woman, so I’d still recommend getting an Ovulation test from Countrywide Testing first
“ . . . [T]he study found that Natural Cycles has a Pearl Index of 0.5 and 7.0, which means that used 100 percent correctly all of the time, five women out of every 1000 experience an accidental pregnancy, while for typical couples who may sometimes ignore the red days or forget to put in their temperature, seven women in every 100 will experience an accidental pregnancy during the first year,” reports Madhumita Murgia.
“For comparison, the pill has a Pearl Index of 0.3 and 9.0 which means that a very similar number of women are expected to experience accidental pregnancy using Natural Cycles as with the pill.”
The cost of the app is also similar to that of the pill. If you sign up for an annual subscription to the app, it will cost $70 and comes with a free thermometer. If the woman prefers to use her own thermometer, she can subscribe for $9 a month, totalling $108 per year.
Compare this to the pill which costs anywhere from $15 to $50 a month depending on which brand is used.
Even more importantly, women using the natural method can do so without the worry of the many side effects associated with hormonal contraception.
“More and more women, especially in the age group of 20-30, tend to abstain from hormonal contraception and desire a ‘hormone-free’ alternative,” says contraception expert Kristina Gemzell, one of the study’s authors. "It is important to increase choice among contraceptives for women and inform them about their pros and cons. This work is an important step towards understanding how new technologies can improve old methods.”
The Natural Cycles app was developed by physicist Elina Berglund, a discoverer of the Nobel Prize-winning Higgs Boson particle, who did not want to take oral contraceptives.
“We wanted to use a natural method for birth control for ourselves and couldn’t find a good alternative,” she told the Telegraph. They developed the app and used it themselves, successfully planning the birth of their baby daughter.
There are many other fertility apps available, but Natural Cycles is the only one geared more toward avoiding pregnancy rather than tracking fertility. Other apps include Fertility Friend, Glow, Kindara, Clue, Daysy, Conceivable, Period Tracker, Ovia, and OvaCue.
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