Natural Cycles is a new App which uses an intelligent algorithm that quickly learns your cycle and accurately detects and predicts ovulation, and thus, your fertile window. You take your temperature each morning, input the data and can then view your cycle as – essentially – days on which you can and can’t get pregnant.
They asked us to check it out. We got into the groove.
Editor writes: whilst both my elder children were happy accidents, our baby was most definitely planned. It’s funny the way that – as blithe young women we muddle through our twenties worrying about every late period, split condom or tryst in the heat of the moment and never stop to actually think about how many days into our cycle we actually were.
When we decided to to try for our third child, I actually did think about it. So did my other half – similarly, who had sailed through a decade of sporadic girlfriend panics too, again without questioning the actual dates. I got the calendar out, did a bit of counting and told my other half that come rain or shine, hell or highwater (or bad backs, headaches or late nights at work) we were damned well having sex on the 14th November. And we did. Nine times. Sure enough – we have another child to show for it.
In my case, I just guesstimated the date – based on GCSE level Biology knowledge and having had two previous kids. A scan later confirmed that I had guessed 5 days out (but sperm can hang around for a few days) – so essentially, we were lucky.
Obviously there are a lot more mitigating factors that go into conception (gynecological health, sperm count… wine!) but knowing where the right window is would be a useful starting point, right?
So – Natural Cycles is an app that promises to give you your money back if you don’t fall pregnant within one year of using it. A bold offering? Maybe not, when you think about the science of it all. And if you don’t conceive, the readings provide useful data for a doctor to figure out why.
So – you pay £49.99 for the App for a year (plus a free thermometer) and take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning. The only downside (if you already have children) I’d envisage would be this one – as hands up which of you were ‘untimely ripped’ from your beds this morning because either a) you overslept and had ten minutes to get the kids to school or b) one of your children poured their tadpole experiment over your duvet?
But – that part aside – once you start telling the App your temperature it can then tell you when you are pre-ovulation, releasing an egg and the few days around this when sperm can still survive. Furthermore, once you are pregnant, knowing your daily temperature means the App can monitor fetal health as well – a comfort I’m sure you’d agree.
For me, the most interesting benefit of this App means that I am aware of the days on which I am unlikely to get pregnant. The idealistic vision of not needing to worry about contraception at all. In my world, this translates to five days crossed out on our kitchen calendar (next to swimming lessons and PTA meetings) whereby my other half knows he may as well work late, go and see DJs who aren’t on til 2am or finish the rest of the bottle of red wine in the pub with his chums – as the gates to my lady garden will be bolted. But the rest of the time – we can be footloose and fancy free, bereft of ingested hormones or latex (assuming we have a few minutes to ourselves between bedtime stories, night feeds and sleepover midnight feast demands…)
I currently have a few friends who are ‘trying’ and many more who have brought little ones into the world through IVF because of months of repeated disappointment. Natural Cycles is definitely an interesting way of looking at things. I say cliched things (in the office and to my own kids) like ‘knowledge is power’ (I know, I know…) but (just like algebra or sorting out a fashion shoot) conception is easier when you know where to start.
When I shared this with another of my friends she suggested that once her tweenage daughter reaches dating age she might get her using Natural Cycles and then ground her on the fertile days… She was actually only slightly joking 😉