A fertility app for smartphones and other mobile devices such as tablets and laptop computers was found to be as effective as contraceptive pills, a new study has found.

The Natural Cycles app mainly uses the body temperature of its users, as well as other fertility information such as date of last menstruation to perform the job.

Most importantly, the app is said to be convenient, effective and free of side effects, unlike some contraceptive pills, which have been found to cause increased risk of seizures in women with epilepsy.

The Rise Of Digital Fertility Monitors

Digital fertility monitors have become popular in the last couple of years. This is because more and more women are looking for ways to ditch the pill while ensuring that they achieve their desired pregnancy or contraception goals.

Most investigations show that these tools have high levels of accuracy and can be compared with hormonal pills. This then empowers women to make informed decisions and have better footing when it comes to planning the family.

Despite the positives, these devices do not come without flaws. Among the disadvantages are costly price, complicated usage and for some, lack of evidenced-based research.

In a recent study, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden evaluated the effectiveness of Natural Cycles as a natural method of contraception and yielded favorable results.

How Does Natural Cycles Work?

Natural Cycles requires the user to key in her daily body temperature into the app to determine her fertile window.

The app uses a statistical algorithm that results in a red or green day to signal whether a day is unsafe or safe in terms of pregnancy risk, respectively.

The algorithm makes use of previously recorded data to help predict the fertility status and ovulation days for the next months.

The app features a status bar, a calendar view and a graph of body temperature, which users may show to their doctors for enhanced guidance.

The app also sends out reminders to the users to input information into the app as much as possible and alerts repeatedly every time the days are "unsafe."

Investigating The Efficiency Of Natural Cycles

In the study, the researchers analyzed data from 4,054 women who uses the app as a contraception method.

The authors used Pearl Index score, which is a parameter that ranks the reliability of a contraceptive method. Natural Cycles got a score of 0.5, which means that for every 1,000 women who used the app, only five got pregnant.

For comparison, the pill had a Pearl Index of 0.3, which means that three in every 1,000 women got pregnant while using it.

The results show that Natural Cycles really is very close in terms of efficiently predicting fertility periods among women.

"The application appears to improve the effectiveness of fertility awareness-based methods and can be used to prevent pregnancies if couples consistently protect themselves on fertile days," the authors concluded.

The study was published in the European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care on March 22.

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