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Our Editors Looked Into This New Side Effect-Free Birth Control

Women spend years, sometimes decades, trying to figure out the best form of contraception for their bodies. With a wide range of options like the pill, shot, ring, patch, IUD, and other hormonal and non-hormonal choices, it's not a one-and-done decision. It takes time to figure out what's right for you.

There is a huge focus on hormonal birth control being the only way to go, which our editors just don't believe. There has to be a hormonal birth control alternative that works with our body's naturally occurring hormonal cycle.

The rhythm method of birth control is used by women looking for a natural way to track their fertility; however, this takes time to get in sync with their bodies and understand their individual cycle perfectly. And even then, the effectiveness rate isn't typically as high as other forms of birth control.

This is where Natural Cycles comes in. Natural Cycles takes the natural aspects of the rhythm method, but enhances the method with science and a thermometer. Their basal thermometer gives women a much more precise look at their fertility and insight to their chances of pregnancy.

Natural Cycles is empowering women by educating them on their bodies' natural fertility cycles. By understanding your unique ovulation, Natural Cycles can give you the green light for when you aren't fertile and when to use extra protection, like condoms, on the 6 days you are fertile.

Still, have questions? Well, we've got the answers to everything you might be asking:

How does Natural Cycles work?

It simply involves you, a thermometer, and an app. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is measure your temperature orally using the Natural Cycles basal thermometer and then enter it into the app.

After it analyzes this data and your cycle, you'll receive a fertility status in the form of red or green days, which tells you if you're fertile or not. That's it!

On days you're fertile (red), you should use barrier protection or abstain from sex. It gives you all this information without throwing a single hormone into the mix and without any medical procedures. On days you're not fertile (green), you're good to go! Remember that Natural Cycles does not protect against STIs, only barrier methods like condoms can do that.

How effective is it?

Natural Cycles is 93% effective with typical use, 98% effective with perfect use, and is effective from day one. Other birth control methods may require some time for your body to adjust.

Condoms which are another non-hormonal option are only 87% effective with typical use. Similar to hormonal methods like the pill, Natural Cycles is about 93% effective with typical use.

*To learn more about the effectiveness and range of birth control methods click here.

Is it safe?

Yes. Natural Cycles is the first FDA-cleared birth control app, so you can rest assured that it's safe and gone through rigorous testing. It's the only natural, hormone-free, side-effect-free birth control of its kind.

What happens if I switch from hormonal contraception to Natural Cycles?

If you're switching from birth control like the pill, it's best to finish all the active pills in the packet before starting. If using an implant or hormonal IUD, start using Natural Cycles the day after either have been removed.

However, if you're switching from a non-hormonal method like condoms, you can get started with Natural Cycles as soon as you're ready.

How is their thermometer different from one I can just get myself?

Natural Cycles is based on measuring your basal body temperature (BBT) which is then added into their algorithm to track your unique cycle. In order to do this, they provide a basal body thermometer that measures up to two decimal points, unlike common household thermometers.

Is it hard to incorporate into my day?

Nope! It all depends on how you build habits, but Natural Cycles is very easy to add into your routine. Just leave the thermometer on your bedside table and when you wake up, take your temperature first thing.

Worried about missing days? It happens. Natural Cycles recommends measuring at least 5 days a week. It won't change the effectiveness of the app, but you may see more red days as a result.

What's on their app?

Natural Cycles' app will of course track your cycle giving you red and green days based on fertility but it's much more than that. You have the option to add data like cycle symptoms and changes to your mood and sex, so the app can better know your unique cycle.

On top of that, you can get PMS alerts, reminders for breast exams, and more useful knowledge about your body.

How much does it cost?

You can get a monthly Natural Cycles subscription for $9.99 or save 25% for an annual payment of $89.99. The price includes both the app and basal thermometer.

Choosing your method of contraception is not one to be taken lightly. We love that Natural Cycles is bringing women back to natural, non-hormonal birth control by creating fertility awareness.

Learn about your body, trust your birth control, and embrace a hormone-free approach all with Natural Cycles.

*You must be over the age of 18. Does not protect against STIs. Natural Cycles is 93% effective with typical use, 98% effective with perfect use. No method of contraception is 100% effective. Natural Cycles does not guarantee that you cannot get pregnant, it only informs you whether and when you can become pregnant based on the information that you enter into the application.