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Insights on the responsibility of planning pregnancy with Natural Cycles

Couple lying on the floor, man looking at thermometer
  • Natural Cycles can play a big role in the lives of Cyclers and their partners when trying to conceive
  • Both Cyclers and partners felt that the app gave them a better knowledge of the menstrual cycle
  • Cyclers feel that there is a lot of responsibility tied to planning pregnancy, and sharing the responsibility with a partner can help ease that load

Natural Cycles identifies the fertile window using temperature data, LH test results, and period data. As well as being the first certified birth control app, it can be used by those trying to conceive. When using NC° Plan Pregnancy, the app will show the user on which days they are most likely to be fertile and have the highest chance of conceiving so that they can time intercourse accordingly. 

The aim of the two studies summarized here was to investigate the role that Natural Cycles played for Cyclers and partners who were using NC° Plan Pregnancy while trying to conceive, how they used it, and how it affected their lives. The studies were funded by Natural Cycles but the research was independent and Natural Cycles was not involved in the study design or analysis. The studies are based on interviews with 24 women using Natural Cycles and six male partners.

The results showed that Natural Cycles played a big role in the lives of both the Cyclers and their partners, since there is a lot of interaction with the app on a daily basis, for example when measuring temperature, adding data, looking at the data in the app, and planning around it.

The Cyclers felt that Natural Cycles gave them more knowledge about their own bodies and especially highlighted the learning that females are only fertile during a certain window of the cycle (a maximum of six days), and how this was information that they had not learned about in school. One partner mentioned:

"When you’re younger you get drilled into you…wear condoms, don’t get pregnant, don’t get pregnant... It’s like to scare you about pregnancy and then they scare you with like STDs and stuff like that but don’t really educate you on the actual pregnancy thing."

They also felt that the app helped them to time sex during their fertile days, as opposed to following general recommendations to have sex a certain number of times per week during the whole cycle. The app encourages users to time intercourse during fertile days. This was reported as both giving a boost to relationships and in some cases it also caused stress. 

Additionally, the Cyclers mentioned that the app helped them explain how they felt during their cycles with regards to things like mood and pains that may shift during the course of a cycle. One Cycler commented on her newfound awareness of her cycle:

"I was the kind of person that didn’t really pay any attention to when my period would’s like shown long my cycle is, when I’m likely to’s actually made me a lot more in-tune with I generally know roughly when I’ve ovulated, whether or not I’ve been using the app consistently."

This point was also brought up by partners, who found that by seeing the actual data in the app, they were able to understand their partners better and learn how their cycle affected them.

Fertility tracking has traditionally been a responsibility that falls on the woman, and this was also reflected in the interviews where the Cyclers reported that planning pregnancy in this way can be stressful at times since there were a lot of things to keep track of, such as logging data correctly, checking the fertility status, planning sex around the app and communicating this to their partner. Both Cyclers and partners felt that there was potential for sharing the responsibility, for example, by the partner downloading the app so that they also had access to the data. 

Since these interviews were conducted, Natural Cycles has released NC° Partner View. This enables the user to share the data that they choose with their partner. This can help with sharing the responsibility of planning a pregnancy between partners. It is also compatible when using NC° Birth Control if you want to share the learning journey and responsibility of contraception with your partner.