How to Choose the Right Birth Control App

Thinking of switching to a birth control app? Whether you’re sick of side effects, or just want to learn more about your natural cycle, our guide is here to help you choose the right birth control app. From looking for certifications, to the questions to ask your doctor, as digital birth control experts, we’re here to help. Read on to find out more…

Photograph of woman holding up a phone with a screen showing 'not fertile' while half smiling at the camera

Look out for the app’s credentials

Ordering contraception online isn’t the same as getting a prescription from the doctor’s office. When it comes to birth control it’s normal to be a bit suspicious of the claims and promises made to us. 

However, there are some advantages to ordering birth control online and if you do go down the route of signing up for a birth control app, there are a few things you can look out for to check the legitimacy of the product. First off, look for certifications that allow the app to be used for birth control as there are a lot of fertility apps on the market that are not to be used to prevent pregnancy.

In the US, check to make sure the birth control app is FDA cleared, while in Europe you can check to see if the app is CE Marked. Many countries have their own versions of certifications - so make sure you check the one that’s relevant for you before signing up. 

If you’re still feeling uncertain after finding some evidence of credentials, you can get really nerdy and go one step further. Take a look at the evidence these certifications are based on. Look for studies with plenty of participants analyzing lots of data published in scientific journals.

Find out how the app works

While a birth control app can make day-to-day life much smoother than using a traditional fertility awareness-based method, it’s useful to understand the science behind the app. For example, period tracking apps that simply count calendar days are going to guess your fertile window based on average cycle data. All of our cycles are prone to fluctuate slightly and using collective data to predict fertility can be tricky.

At Natural Cycles we analyze each user’s unique temperature data to work out their fertility and are able to confirm ovulation, allowing us to offer personalized insights and a daily fertility status. We recommend choosing a birth control app that will adapt to your cycle and not give you fertility predictions based on generalized data. 

You should be able to find out more about the science behind the birth control app via their website. You can also follow brands on social media to learn more about how the app works and get a feel for what it’s like to use the app every day.

Check out the numbers behind the app’s effectiveness

As with choosing any contraceptive method, it’s important to understand birth control effectiveness and the context for those numbers. Effectiveness is measured in both typical and perfect use. Typical use refers to how a method is actually used whereas perfect use reflects the way a method is intended to be used. 

Take the birth control pill for example, with typical use the birth control pill is 93% effective - that number includes users who don’t always follow the instructions on taking the pill (such as forgetting to take it occasionally). Whereas with perfect use the pill is more than 99% effective - that means always taking the pill as directed each and every day. 

Look out for the numbers behind the birth control app’s effectiveness and what’s required from you as a user, specifically what it means to use the app perfectly. When it comes to Natural Cycles, perfect use means not having unprotected sex on days the app has identified you are fertile and could become pregnant.

Read up on what users like or dislike about the app

It’s all very well doing your research into these methods, but nothing beats hearing from the people who use this method every day. While there is a great deal of science behind contraception, using birth control is a very human experience. Before switching to a birth control app, check out some testimonials and find out what people like or dislike about using an app as birth control. 

As well as reading birth control app reviews on a company’s website, you can also check out places like the app store, Healthline or the lowdown to find out what it’s like to actually use a birth control app.

Check if it could work for you

When doing your research, look out for who the app is designed for. Some apps may have limits on the age of their users, or may not work with irregular cycles. Depending on the method, keep in mind you may also need to leave a break after finishing hormonal birth control before you start using a birth control app. 

At Natural Cycles, we want you to have all the facts before switching birth control. Thinking about switching to a birth control app? Take the quiz and find out if Natural Cycles could work for you.

Consider your reasons for choosing a birth control app

The reason we choose a birth control method is highly individual. Are you sick of the hormonal side effects of your current birth control? Do you want to use a birth control app to learn more about your cycle? Or do you want to start a family in the near future? Only you will know the answers to these questions, but whatever your motivation is, think about these reasons as you continue your quest to find the right birth control for you.

There are plenty of options out there and a birth control app may or not be the right fit for you. For example, if you’re looking for a long-lasting, non-hormonal birth control option you don’t have to think about each day, you might want to consider an option like a copper IUD instead. 

Talk to your doctor

Last, but definitely not least, we always recommend you talk to your doctor before switching birth control. This can help you learn more about the individual methods available and what may or may not work for your body and your routine. 

If you want to talk about switching to a birth control app with a healthcare professional, you might find it handy to come prepared, learning how the app works, its effectiveness, and taking note of any certifications can all help prepare you for a chat with your doctor about switching methods. 

Learn more about the world’s first birth control app

Thanks for reading up on how to choose the right birth control app! Back in 2018 Natural Cycles became the first birth control app to be FDA cleared. Based on temperature data, the app’s algorithm learns the pattern of your unique cycle so you know exactly when you’re fertile. On fertile days you can choose to abstain from sex or use protection on fertile days - that’s right, you can’t get pregnant every day of your cycle! 

Natural Cycles is more than a birth control app. The same technology that can help you prevent pregnancy, can also be used to plan pregnancy by timing sex on your most fertile days. Natural Cycles has already changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of women around the world. Why not find out if it could work for you?

Ready to get started?

Jen on the roof terrace at Natural Cycles headquarters.

Written By

Jennifer Gray

A writer with a passion for women’s health, Jennifer Gray has years of experience writing about various reproductive health topics including birth control, planning pregnancy, women’s anatomy, and so much more.

Jack in a suit and tie holding a microphone and giving a presentation.

Scientifically Reviewed

Jack Pearson

With 10 years of experience working in the field of fertility, Dr. Jack Pearson is Natural Cycles’ in-house expert. As Medical Affairs Manager, he dedicates his time to conducting groundbreaking research and educating healthcare professionals.

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