From sheep intestines to apps, Britons have always been a nation of early adopters when it comes to new technology and contraception, so it is no surprise that the world’s first contraceptive app, Natural Cycles, is taking the UK by storm with over 10,000 new users per month, with more women in the UK using the app than any other country in Europe. The app now has plans to replicate the success in the UK by becoming certified in the US which will allow even more women to take control of their fertility.
There are 16 types of contraception now approved in the UK including the pill, diaphragm, intrauterine device (IUD), natural family planning, and female sterilisation. The latest method is Natural Cycles which was certified in 2017 as the world’s first contraceptive app to help families prevent, plan and monitor pregnancies.
For centuries, Britain has rapidly adopted new methods of contraception. In the UK, condoms date back to as early as 1642, and the oldest condoms ever excavated were found in a cesspit located in the grounds of Dudley Castle, West Midlands, and were made from sheep intestines.
The early 19th century saw contraceptives promoted to the poorer classes for the first time. Advertisements for condoms appeared in British newspapers as far back as the 1840s, and 1870s. England saw the founding of the first major condom manufacturing company, E. Lambert and Son of Dalston. This was the most popular birth control choice among British single women in the late 1960s and, in 1988 Britain, condoms were the most popular contraception for married couples for the first time since the introduction of the pill.
The launch of the pill in the 1960s offered liberation for women in the UK, and this was fuelled by a massive turning point in British culture and swinging London which filtered down to every region in the country. The pill allowed British women to be in control and offered sexual freedom.
The Femidom (female condom) in the UK was hailed as the biggest contraceptive revolution since the pill and launched in 1992 with a multi-million pound advertising campaign which included the famous neon-lit advertising boards in London’s Piccadilly Circus. British women were quick to embrace the new contraceptive method and formed huge queues outside Boots. In just 10 weeks NHS clinics had bought over 70,000 of them.
It was only a question of time before technology helped to improve contraception, and in February 2017 Natural Cycles became the world’s first, and only, app to be certified as a form of birth control. The app works by recording the daily temperature under your tongue. An advanced algorithm then determines whether you are fertile on that day so you accurately know if and when to have protected intercourse which helps to prevent, or plan, a pregnancy – and clinical studies have shown Natural Cycles to be as effective as the contraceptive pill.
Natural Cycles is hormone-free and this really appeals to British women. In fact, since launch, the app has helped over 300,000 users worldwide with a tenfold increase in UK women joining every month. Today, women from the UK are using Natural Cycles more than any other country in Europe.
After using many forms of contraception including injections and contraceptive pills, Natural Cycles user, Sara Flykt, said: ‘Contraception has changed so much in my life and I feel like I’ve been waiting for something like Natural Cycles for years. The app allows me to be more aware of my cycles, without the side effects of hormones, which means I get to know my body in a completely different way. It’s great to be living in the 21st century and have access to this type of modern contraception.’
Dr Elina Berglund, a top scientist who was part of the Nobel Prize-winning team that discovered the Higgs boson, now a fertility expert and co-founder of Natural Cycles, said: ‘History shows that the UK has always been quick to embrace new contraceptive methods. However, in the UK the choices are fairly limited and many are seeking alternatives to traditional methods. The hormone-free method and body insight Natural Cycles brings resonates particularly well with British women and we’re seeing more than 10,000 of them join us each month with over 300,000 users worldwide. Our mission is to empower women everywhere and encourage them to take control of their fertility whether it’s to plan or prevent a pregnancy. With our certification in Europe, Natural Cycles has the advantage of being the first contraceptive app in this space, which means we’ll be able to bring Natural Cycles to more women worldwide.’
Natural Cycles app has over 300,000 users in 161 countries and is available to download on
Natural Cycles, the App Store for iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad, and Google Play Store.
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