Research Library Published Research

Published Research

An independent analysis of NC° Birth Control reviews

Couple cuddling on the couch, smiling and looking at phone

Key Takeaways:

  • Being a non-hormonal method is seen as key to the user experience of NC° Birth Control because it allows users to connect with their bodies without synthetic hormones
  • Natural Cycles empowers its users with knowledge about their body
  • The responsibility of birth control often falls on women, and Natural Cycles can be a tool for sharing that responsibility

When talking about birth control, user experience might not be the first thing that comes to mind (topics like effectiveness are usually higher up on the agenda), but the study that’s summarized here aimed to investigate just that – how users of NC° Birth Control experience using a digital contraceptive. This research was conducted by independent researchers without Natural Cycles’ involvement.

This study analyzed 3,265 reviews of Natural Cycles on the Google Play Store. All reviews were written in English and were published between 2014 and 2021. This analysis looked only at reviews from those using NC° Birth Control (the Natural Cycles app mode used to prevent pregnancy). 

The analysis showed that a key aspect of using NC° Birth Control is the fact that it’s a hormone-free method, and this is more important than the method being digital. A recurring theme in the user reviews was that hormonal birth control felt unnatural. By using Natural Cycles, users were able to reconnect with their “normal self” – how their body works without synthetic hormones – and this experience was seen as empowering.

Another important part of the empowerment aspect was that Natural Cycles users gain knowledge about their bodies and cycles by using the app, both by how it visualizes their cycle data and through messages and content. This gave users a sense of self-control and the ability to be compassionate with themselves when they could make the connection between certain emotions or symptoms to their cycles. Interestingly, some reviews even linked this personal experience with the empowerment of women in general.

The study also covers the interactive aspect of the app, and this is highlighted as an additional strength of using a digital method. Users input data and the Natural Cycles app gives them something back (fertility status, messages, etc), but the app is also designed to engage the user by prompting them to add data or interact with certain features. 

This interaction can feel rewarding, but it can also create a feeling of pressure around using the app. Many reviews mention that the users themselves have a role to play in making the most of using Natural Cycles – they need to measure temperatures according to certain guidelines and add data to the app regularly. This can help create a sense of control, but it can also be challenging for those who aren’t able to add data due to factors like irregular sleeping patterns. It’s important to note here that the effectiveness of Natural Cycles is not affected by how often users choose to measure. 

Another important theme of the analysis revolves around the responsibility of contraception, and how that was affected by using a digital method. Natural Cycles users often felt that the app helped enable conversations around birth control. For example, they were able to share elements of what was going on in their bodies with a partner or healthcare professional. 

The app also gives opportunities to share the responsibility of birth control in relationships – some partners became very involved in the use of the app. For others, however, the entire responsibility of birth control remained with the measuring user. 

This study brings insights into how a digital birth control method like Natural Cycles can affect the lives of those using it and highlights some of the things that are important for our users. Since the reviews analyzed here were published, Natural Cycles has also released NC° Partner View, which can help those in relationships share the responsibility of birth control. 

Natural Cycles can now also be used with two types of wearable devices, the Oura Ring and Apple Watch. These new measuring devices can help those who aren’t able to measure regularly with a thermometer to still get the most from the NC° app.