Birth control is defined as preventing unwanted pregnancies, especially through the use of contraception. It helps with pregnancy and family planning. Many factors determine a woman’s choice of birth control methods, such as her general health, age, sexual activity, number of sexual partners, and desire to have children in the future.
Some of the common methods of birth control and contraception include:
- Barriers physically prevent conception by keeping the egg and sperm apart
- Hormones work by changing the balance of hormones related to the development and release of the egg, thereby regulating ovulation, impairing sperm function or transport by altering the cervical mucus
- Intrauterine devices (IUD) are small devices that are inserted into the uterus which change the cervix and uterus conditions to prevent the movement of sperm from the cervix to the fallopian tubes.
- Sterilization include surgical methods (vasectomy, tubectomy etc.) used to alter reproductive organs permanently to prevent pregnancies.
Despite decades of strong research in birth control, users are demanding more convenient and safer options than the mentions ones due to the risks associated with hormonal methods, such as breast cancer, depression, severe mood swings and even changes in brain function.
Birth control using digital technology is non-invasive and non-hormonal. Digital birth control learns about your individual cycle the more you use it making it ideal as a long-term contraceptive method. The concept of digital birth control is similar to fertility awareness methods of birth control, in which women track parameters such as their periods, body temperature, and changes in their cervical mucus to determine when they’re ovulating and may get pregnant.
Digital birth control is a relatively new player in the field of contraception. A predictable change in body temperature occurs throughout the menstrual cycle eg: immediately after ovulation, progesterone causes our body temperature to rise. These temperature changes serve as the basis for the digital birth control system.
Benefits of digital birth control include:
- No side-effect
- Non-hormonal control.
- No surgical procedure (non-invasive).
- No prescription needed.
- No safety concerns.
- Gives insight into the female menstrual cycle and health.
Disadvantages of this method are the lack of protection against sexually transmitted diseases and the woman must abstain or use protection during sex on fertile days. Another drawback is that it requires a high level of commitment because one needs to input the data into the digital birth control app almost everyday. In addition, digital birth control is not suitable for women with irregular cycles or pre-existing conditions that affect body temperature, such as hyperthyroidism.
Why do we need digital birth control?
The need for non-invasive, non-hormonal birth control is different for different women. Most women want to avoid hormones or do not want to put anything into their bodies. So, this method will be a better option for them. With smartphones, manual charting with pen and paper is no longer necessary. Despite the easy accessibility of non-hormonal, non-invasive birth control through mobile apps, and quick data analysis, it still requires daily lifestyle commitments. Some of the commonly used birth control apps include, Natural Cycles, Ovia Fertility & Cycle Tracking, Clue, Nurx, Hers etc.
Important Note: birth control apps should not replace your healthcare provider or fertility specialist, nor should they act as a substitute for sound medical advice.