The western medicine go-to for birth control persists with a prescription of synthetic hormones (the pill, depo provera, IUD, etc), and unfortunately we have now come to terms with the fact that our doctors didn't give us a heads up about how it might affect us. So, on Instagram I asked about your experience with synthetic hormones. Here are a few, out of the many answers, that I received:
Why I Don’t Use Fertility Apps or Devices (like Natural Cycles or Daysy) for Birth Control
Observation Based vs. Calculation Based
The two main indicators of female fertility are cervical fluid (CF) and basal body temperature (BBT). As we get close to ovulation, cervical fluid levels rise and basal body temperatures lower in conjunction with rising estrogen levels. Both BBT and CF observations are crucial to receive the efficacy rate of 99.6%. For instance, observing our cervical fluid gives us an awareness of the start of our fertile window! CF alkalizes the pH of our vagina so that sperm can stay alive, where our vagina is acidic and will literally kill sperm during all other moments of our cycles. Above all, when we combine basal body temperature with cervical fluid observations, we gain the ability to visually see when ovulation has been confirmed and our fertile window has ended.
With the use of a fertility monitor, we rely on the device to calculate our fertility. That is to say, fertility monitors are designed with a digital algorithm. This algorithm uses our BBT recordings to calculate our fertile window for us (based off of our previous cycle lengths). This is a very risky situation, especially for those with irregular cycles! So, with the understanding that many lifestyle and diet factors can affect the day of our basal body temperature shift, it is highly unlikely that an algorithm can predict when this temperature shift will occur.
Trying to Conceive with Apps for Fertility Charting
I do not use fertility apps or devices (like natural cycles or daysy) for birth control because it is not as effective as manually recording our own observations. Most importantly, we may get led to having risky unprotected intercourse. ONLY YOU can effectively calculate your fertile window and ovulation accurately. I do however believe that fertility devices would benefit those who are trying to become pregnant.
Body Literacy and Empowerment
By choosing to use a device (like daysy or natural cycles) over learning how to practice fertility awareness, women may not experience the empowerment of body literacy or grow to make reproductive health decisions for themselves. By using a device, we alternatively place decision making into an outside source, akin to synthetic hormones. We may be choosing to stop the use of hormones, but we are also not opting to understand the functions of our body to feel the empowerment that this knowledge brings. Body literacy and fertility awareness allow us to make medical decisions for ourselves by knowing how to interpret fertility issues using our fertility charts.
Learn how to Chart your Cycle
The creators' intentions for fertility devices are not ill or negative, I actually believe these products are a step in the right direction! The true issue comes from the western culture in which we live. All together we are finally at a point in time where we understand there is a natural way to preventing pregnancy, and that is not through synthetic hormones.
If you are drawn to using a charting app/device like daysy or natural cycles, it is very important to first learn how to chart your cycle.