Despite being a little bias towards the Mirena, a birth control method that has changed my life for the better, I would never dream of telling a woman what to do with her body just because it works for me. I would, however, feel as though I were doing the sisterhood a disservice if I didn’t speak up about something that I felt was leaving women in a vulnerable position.
That something is the Natural Cycles app.
It’s at this point, I’d like to point out that I’m no doctor, but I do have a uterus and am therefore entitled to have an opinion on this. I would also like to note that I don’t have a problem with it being used as a form of family planning with an intent to conceive; this post is in response to it being heralded as queen of contraception on social media, because honestly, the momentum it is gaining on Twitter and Instagram is bringing me out in hives.
My main issue is that I do not believe that endorsing bloggers to promote a particular type of birth control is either good or responsible of the brand. I am all for educating women on the options available and I understand that influencers earn their keep from doing sponsored posts and forming partnerships, but I think it’s careless of companies to ask bloggers to promote something to young audiences that, if used incorrectly or with the wrong body, can change lives. I also think that education, particularly sex education, should remain totally unbias, regardless of where it is coming from.
Not only that, the reliability of the app itself as a method of contraception has been put into question. It uses only temperature and calculations based on your last few periods to decipher whether you are ‘safe’ to have unprotected sex or not. Science aside for a second, that seems a little flaky to me. It might be a good way to practise safe sex on top of other methods of birth control, or to plan pregnancy, but if people have fallen pregnant with hormones pumping through their bodies or pieces of metal wedged in their wombs, then it’s surely even more likely to happen when you’re using nothing but heat to gauge your fertility? After all, all bodies are different and temperature and cycles can be affected by anything, from stress or illness to food allergies and even exercising too much.
My audience is mainly women aged between 25 and 35 years old, so you could assume you’ve got your birth control sussed (if you choose to use it, of course) but it terrifies me to think that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of young girls, who don’t have access to the same information I did, who are going to be clicking and thinking that Natural Cycles is the only option out there for them. If there are any younger women reading this who are venturing into the wonderful world of contraception for the first time, please know that this app is not the only (if at all) reliable form of contraception out there and that there are other amazing hormonal and non-hormonal options available for you on the NHS.
Please do yourself a favour ladies, and don’t rely on the words of influencers who have been paid to talk about Natural Cycles to make a decision about how you would like to prevent pregnancy. As I’ve said, I think it’s pretty irresponsible of brands to ask them to do it in the first place, I’m not sure it’s wise for influencers to have agreed to do it and I sure as hell don’t think you should base any decisions on what they have to say about it. This isn’t some deal with Miss Papp or Missy Empire; this is your life we’re talking about.
If you want some valuable and impartial advice, make an appointment with your local family planning clinic or GP ASAP. Talk to your mum, colleagues, friends or sisters about their experiences. Google it all you can. Head to the NHS website. Soak up as much information as possible and try out as many methods as you like before settling on the one that’s best for you and your body. That’s really the only way to do it. And who knows? Natural Cycles might be it.
I certainly wouldn’t leave anything to do with my body in the hands of an app and I’m not convinced you should, either.
But of course, that’s entirely up to you.