Exploring Non-Hormonal Birth Control: Sav’s Story
We all know the saying ‘ignorance is bliss', but when it comes to what’s going into my body, I strongly disagree. I had been on the pill since I was 16 years old. The fact that I had barely any idea about what I was ingesting daily for most of my post-pubescent life was quite alarming. Like most women on hormonal birth control, I thought that it was the only option…
Disclaimer: This is one Natural Cycles user’s experience. Everyone's experience is different and we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider when considering switching birth control.
Initially, I was incredibly skeptical of birth control methods that involved measuring the days or timelines of one’s cycle. The whole system seemed risky, and more tailored toward women who wanted children.
In my years out of school, I was finding my independence and discovering how I wanted to prioritize my health. I had switched to a zero-waste period system and was attending a discussion on menstruation when I finally decided it was time to learn more about my cycle, naturally (pun very much intended).
I knew that I didn’t want to have children, but I also hated feeding myself a daily dose of hormones that could affect me negatively now and in the future. So, I did a bit of research and found Natural Cycles.
Making the switch to non-hormonal birth control
Natural Cycles was not completely new to me. I remembered seeing a YouTube video years ago where a woman walked through her experience. Again, it felt a lot like the system worked better for women trying to have children. What I found in my rediscovery though was that Natural Cycles’ typical use effectiveness was no different than my then birth control method. Plus, I was impressed by the information they shared on their blog and in the app. Everything from glossaries and guides to info on sex and pleasure.
I decided to make the switch to Natural Cycles a little over ten months ago. I was fresh(ish) out of a relationship, not looking for anything serious, and thought, “if not now, then when?” I downloaded the app well before getting the thermometer because I couldn't contain my excitement.
Once my thermometer arrived, it was off to the races! I would put my thermometer right by my bed, on top of my phone so that every morning I could take my temperature and log it straight into the app.
Things to love about Natural Cycles
It didn’t take long to build the habit and love for the Natural Cycles process. Getting to add temperature and cycle symptoms felt like a step toward the reward of unlocking more insights about my body.
One of my favorite things about Natural Cycles is the information and insights provided directly in the app. My mother used to ‘count her days’ as a contraceptive method, but I prefer having an algorithm explain the process to me.
I have been logging my information for ten cycles now, which means I know the expected timing of my ovulation and my period without having to do any calculations myself. The ‘My Cycle’ section of the app gives me insights that are incredibly helpful as well. I always thought I had a regular period but I was way off. It has been interesting to see my cycle length start at 28 days right as I was coming off the pill, all the way up to 37 days in recent months.
Beyond simply knowing my fertile days from my infertile ones, I have gotten to track my symptoms more closely. I get to log my mood changes and when my cramps pick up, which really helps me feel prepared and empowered.
I used to feel very irritable and upset without understanding what stage of my cycle I was in. I would blame myself for the down moods and run in cycles of feeling bad about feeling bad. Now, I know when to expect those valleys and give myself more grace to feel however I do.
The final thing that I find most helpful is that the thermometer saves my temperature. I can be obsessive about taking my temperature the moment I wake up. It’s not unusual for me to doze off a bit with the thermometer in my mouth. Since you need your temperature reading from the moment you wake, having it saved is a gift.
Of course, no system is perfect! As much as I love my Natural Cycles system, there are some things that have taken work to get used to…
The most difficult part of this journey for me is timing. I was pretty controlled about taking the pill. Always at the same time, always once a day. As you can expect, no one can keep up a perfect streak. Sometimes I’d have to wait for a movie to finish, or would snooze my alarm to be polite.
This can’t be done with NC, when you’re up, you’re up and if you’ve missed your chance to get your measurement for the day, that’s it. Not being able to go back is the hardest part for me. A few hours makes all the difference.
Natural Cycles recommends you aim to measure five days a week in the morning as soon as you wake up. Preparation is key. You need that thermometer by your bedside so you don’t miss a measurement. I have run into issues remembering to remove it from my purse or take it with me on a trip.
I also expected more green days sooner. As the impatient ‘zillenial’ I am, I wanted quick results. However, having to be diligent about this habit helped me appreciate the time it has and will take for me to learn and appreciate my body more deeply.
Overall, the biggest pieces of advice I can give are preparation and persistence. The more data you add, the more info you receive, and the better prepared you are, the more data you can add!
Where I am now
Ten months in and I am very pleased with my progress. I look forward to many more cycles to come. In the past ten cycles, I have gained a deeper understanding of my body and cycle and I feel confident in the Natural Cycles system. Recommendations to friends and family flow easily. Whenever I hear of someone who is even slightly curious about non-hormonal birth control, I give them the whole story.
If you’d like to try Natural Cycles for yourself, you can get 20% off plus a free thermometer through my personal referral link.
Every woman is different, every cycle as well. I feel confident being able to track my cycle this way and I hope new cyclers can say the same!
A huge thank you to Savanah for sharing her personal experience of switching to natural contraception. You can read more of Savanah’s content via her sustainable blog Urban Intentions.
Natural Cycles is the first FDA cleared birth control app, it’s 100% hormone-free and non-invasive. Why not find out if it could work for you today?