Ditching hormonal contraception for an app. Is this a good idea?

Hormonal birth control is widely used and accepted with the pill being the most popular method of hormonal birth control in Australia. I came across an interesting article that spoke about a change in the trend, where more women of reproductive age are turning to cycle tracking apps as a result of feeling the effects that hormonal birth control can place on the body.

Hormonal birth control also includes the Implanon implant, Mirena IUD, Depo-Provera shot, Vaginal ring as well as the combined oral contraceptive and the min

i-pill. As discussed in my previous blog, women are being prescribed these hormone-releasing birth control methods for many reasons as well as for contraception.

The article suggested that ‘millennial women’ are now starting to choose otherwise with the increasing use of cycle tracking apps as their alternative. Now this is a great step and I’m all for women tracking their cycles…it’s what I do and have done for the past 15 years. The benefit and value and support I have received from doing this has been and continues to be quite incredible, for many reasons.

Women are becoming more aware of the uncomfortable and harmful effects of the pill and other hormonal contraceptives. These include:

· bloating and weight gain

· irregular bleeding or spotting

· mood swings

· headaches

· acne

· breast tenderness

· yeast overgrowth and infection

· nausea

· low libido

And then there’s the long-term effects, which include huge impacts on gut health, changes in uterine lining affecting fertility, nutrient deficiency, anxiety & depression.

All of this, we need to be aware of. And as I said, a great step for women if they are ready to look at alternatives to birth control. What does concern me, is that women are using an app for contraception. This is NOT a good idea! By all means, use the app to track your cycle but you cannot rely on an algorithm to tell you when you are fertile and when you are not. Nope. Fertility Awareness requires your own living interpretation of the signs you chart, not the algorithm. When used correctly FAM use for contraception has a very high effectiveness rate (99%) but you have to do the work.

The signs for tracking your fertility include:

- Cervical Mucus tracking. Using the changes in cervical mucus to indicate your fertile window and help you to pinpoint the day of ovulation.

- Changes in basal body temperature. The changes in temperature indicate and confirm ovulation

- Cervical position can also be included but is not necessary. The changes in position also confirm the fertile window.

It is super important that you find a trained educator to support you with this in the initial stages and don’t try to go it alone. There are specific ‘rules’ that you need to be aware of when using the method for contraception. So ditching the pill and relying on an app is not wise, however using Fertility Awareness correctly is super wise. Using an app is fine, just turn off all predictions so you are tracking exactly what you are aware of by observing your body and it's fertile signs.

And let me tell you, cycle tracking is just the tip of the ice-berg. It’s a win-win when using it for either contraception or conception – you get the effectiveness and the added benefits of understanding your body. It’s like a gateway to getting to know yourself on a much deeper level…if you are willing to go there.

See my programs and events pages for information on individual and groups sessions in using Fertility Awareness Method.

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