Will “Natural Cycles” and Other Fertility Apps Help Me Get Pregnant?

If you have Googled “Natural Cycle” or “Natural Cycles” in hopes of learning more about how your body works and when you are most likely to get pregnant, then you probably landed on the homepage of an app that promotes itself as the first “FDA cleared” birth control app available. Perhaps you have lingered on that page, wondering whether such an app – originally designed to help women avoid pregnancy – can also help you determine when you are most likely to conceive during your cycle.

Natural Cycles, an app available for Apple or Android devices, promotes itself as natural and non-invasive, offering “a brand new, revolutionary birth control option that’s given millions of individuals the power to go hormone-free.” In other words, this option professes to be all-natural. Therefore, you will not be taking birth control pills or inserting an IUD or any other device to avoid pregnancy.

On the other hand, if you are having issues with fertility, you are certainly not worried about getting pregnant by accident. You WANT to conceive, and perhaps you may have heard that this app can also help you pinpoint the days when this could most likely happen.

So how does it work?

In reality, Natural Cycles is not much different than what has long been called the “calendar method” or the “rhythm method” of birth control. Women have practiced this method for natural family planning for decades. It helps you track your monthly cycle so that you can either avoid pregnancy or achieve pregnancy. It has long been favored by those who cannot tolerate birth control pills or, for religious reasons, cannot or will not use contraceptives.

Natural Cycles uses an algorithm that determines your fertility status based on your basal body temperature. In other words, the app is a modern-day method of doing the same thing you would do if you took your basal temperature each day and wrote the number on a calendar. However, because it is a phone app, many women see it as more reliable and confident since it uses up-to-date technology.

In reality, however, there is no difference between Natural Cycles and taking your basal body temperature and noting it on paper. It is essentially a way to get to know more about your body and your menstrual cycle to predict your most fertile days or – in this case – have an app do it for you.

In some ways, this app is a more forward and direct methodology than some patients may have been accustomed to. After tracking for a month or so, it can consistently remind you of your fertile days and those that most likely will not result in pregnancy. As such, you will be prompted to plan intercourse accordingly. The app will also prompt you as to the best time to take a pregnancy test and will provide further insights into your cycle.

Are tools like this a good idea for me?

Any reliable method that assists in tracking ovulation can be helpful to women who are struggling with their fertility. The Natural Cycles app can help by letting you know on which days you are most likely to conceive, which certainly is quite helpful.

However, as with the calendar method, the app is not foolproof, especially if you do not have a regular menstrual cycle, which is often the case for women with difficulty conceiving. When your cycle is irregular, it can be very difficult to track your fertile days, even with changes in basal body temperature and other indicators. That means, for you, this method of tracking ovulation may simply not be sufficiently effective.

What are the alternatives?

If you have been trying to achieve pregnancy for more than a year, you may be one of the 11 percent of women of child-bearing age that will experience fertility problems. Your fertility issues may result from any number of issues, not simply inaccurate timing. If tracking ovulation has not worked for you, you need to visit an infertility specialist who can do what it takes to diagnose the problem, whether it lies with you or your partner.

In many cases, scientific intervention may solve your issues only after a clear diagnosis is made. This demands the care of a specialist who can perform examinations and order tests that will uncover the root of the problem, whether it be an issue with damaged fallopian tubes, difficulties caused by disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome, poor sperm motility, or another issue with your male partner.

Sometimes conception may happen with lifestyle changes, such as decreasing your body mass index (BMI). Still, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments may be the answer to starting your family. Personalized, individual care from a physician who is a fertility expert, rather than interaction with a phone app, is undoubtedly the more recommended approach. Improvements in fertility drugs and other technological advances have made it possible for more and more women to conceive each year. However, to maximize their effectiveness, you will need to speak to and be examined by an individual who is intimately familiar with such latest treatments for infertility.

At Advanced Reproductive Medicine, we provide fertility testing, affordable in-vitro fertilization treatment, artificial insemination programs, egg donation services, and so much more. We are patient-focused and offer convenient appointments that fit your time and needs. We treat you honestly and cater to the individual, offering you options that we believe will provide YOU with the smoothest path to starting a family of your own. In addition, we have been named an “Institute of Excellence” by Aetna and an “Optum Center of Excellence” for fertility care. As such, you can be certain that you will receive the best care available. Should you desire more details about how we can assist you on your fertility journey or for more information about our practice, our doctors, and all of our services, schedule a consultation, or call us at 732-339-9300.

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