Death of the Pill? Number of women relying on 'natural' family planning apps to avoid pregnancy doubles in a decade amid celeb and social media-inspired trend to ditch hormonal contraception

Trending 6 months ago

Thousands of British women person ditched nan Pill successful favour of a celebrity-inspired 'natural' contraception trend, charismatic figures suggest. 

The number of women relying connected 'fertility awareness', which involves search their menstrual rhythm to find retired erstwhile they are astir apt to get pregnant, has doubled complete nan past decade. 

Meanwhile, nan proportionality taking oral contraceptives has fallen by much than two-thirds, according to nan aforesaid data.

Dozens of celebrities, including Love Island's Olivia Attwood and Montana Brown, Coronation Street's Lucy Fallon and Made successful Chelsea's Tiffany Watson, have raved astir nan benefits utilizing apps, specified arsenic Natural Cycles, and hailed them 'the aureate ticket'.

Social media is besides littered pinch videos from influencers highlighting nan expected benefits of binning accepted contraception arsenic portion of the 'back to nature' movement. They declare hormonal forms of contraception, for illustration nan Pill, person near them emotion 'ugly' by causing weight gain, acne and depression.

However, contempt its detonation successful popularity, experts pass nan 'natural' method isn't arsenic effective arsenic different forms of contraception and shouldn't beryllium utilized by anyone who would find it a 'disaster' if they became pregnant. 

The number of women utilizing earthy family readying — monitoring rhythm length, somesthesia and cervical mucus to foretell erstwhile they are fertile — has doubled complete nan past decade, NHS figures show 

Dozens of celebrities, including Love Island's Olivia Attwood (pictured successful September), Coronation Street 's Lucy Fallon and Made successful Chelsea 's Tiffany Watson , person raved astir nan benefits utilizing apps, specified arsenic Natural Cycles, and hailed them 'the aureate ticket'. Attwood criticised different contraceptive options for leaving her 'uncomfortable' and battling 'mood swings and migraines'

Montana Brown (pictured successful February) meanwhile defended utilizing nan app — which immoderate of her followers labelled 'risky' and 'irresponsible' — claiming she had 'no idea' of nan effects of nan Pill connected her assemblage and wherever she was successful her rhythm anterior to utilizing Natural Cycles

NHS data suggests nan usage of earthy family readying apps arsenic contraception has doubled successful a decade.

Around 555,400 women utilizing nan wellness service's intersexual and reproductive wellness services successful 2022/23 — balanced to 4 per cent of 13 to 54-year-olds.

Of these, 8,800 confessed to utilizing 'natural family planning' arsenic their main method. This is up from 4,500 when records began successful 2012/13.

It was astir celebrated among those aged 25 to 34 (3,800) and those aged 35 to 44 (1,800), nan information shows.

Over nan aforesaid clip frame, oral contraception usage has dropped by much than two-thirds, from 420,600 successful 2012/13 to 126,400 successful 2022/23. 

HOW DOES NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING ACTUALLY WORK? 

Natural family readying involves identifying nan signs and symptoms of fertility during your menstrual rhythm truthful you tin scheme aliases debar pregnancy.

There are nary beingness broadside effects, and you tin usage it to scheme erstwhile you get pregnant. 

It involves daily assemblage somesthesia readings, logging immoderate changes to nan cervix — specifically, nan secretions of mucus from nan cervix and nan magnitude of nan menstrual cycle.

The somesthesia method is utilized because there's a mini emergence successful assemblage somesthesia aft ovulation.

The somesthesia method involves taking your somesthesia each greeting earlier you get retired of bed. This should beryllium done earlier eating, drinking and smoking, and ideally astatine nan aforesaid clip each morning. 

Natural family readying is often done via an app for illustration Natural Cycles, Flo aliases Clue.

But you tin besides usage fertility charts to grounds and way your measurements complete nan people of each menstrual cycle. 

The NHS says it tin beryllium up to 99 per cent effective erstwhile done correctly and astir 75 per cent if not utilized according to instructions. 

Yet it is still 10 times much celebrated than earthy family planning, which tin beryllium done manually aliases pinch apps. 

According to nan NHS data, nan different astir celebrated methods see long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) — nan implant, intrauterine strategy (IUS) and intrauterine instrumentality (IUD) — and condoms.

The figures don't see responses from nan hundreds of thousands of women who root their contraception from a GP aliases pharmacy, truthful only correspond a snapshot. 

Women contacting a work aggregate times during nan twelvemonth will besides only beryllium counted erstwhile successful nan figures. 

Natural family readying is often done via an app that requires women to study their somesthesia astir days. Some besides inquire astir changes to cervical mucus and nan magnitude of menstrual cycle.

Apps past usage an algorithm to cipher their fertility.

Natural Cycles, Flo and Clue are among nan astir celebrated apps.

They past place days erstwhile a female is improbable to autumn pregnant, and those erstwhile gestation is likely, meaning contraception would beryllium needed. 

Yet these are not foolproof, pinch scores of women reporting unwanted pregnancies.

The NHS says it tin beryllium up to 99 per cent effective erstwhile done correctly and astir 75 per cent if not utilized according to instructions.  

Dr Janet Barter, president of nan Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health, told MailOnline: 'We person seen an summation successful women turning to earthy family readying recently, which tin beryllium awesome if followed consistently and correctly.

'However, if nan instructions aren't followed consistently and correctly it tin lead to pregnancy.' 

She added: 'It conscionable isn't arsenic effective arsenic different methods of contraception, and I would not urge this method to anyone for whom a gestation astatine this constituent successful their lives would beryllium a disaster. 

'I would besides urge avoiding societal media arsenic location is simply a batch of misinformation retired location which tin beryllium confusing.'

Katherine O'Brien, of nan British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), said: 'Women tin struggle to entree nan afloat scope of options and chose nan method that is correct for them. 

'Natural family readying tin beryllium an effective measurement to forestall unplanned gestation — but only if utilized correctly. 

'The numbers of women relying connected apps whitethorn beryllium increasing, but galore of these devices are not supported by high-quality, evidence-based research.

'The emergence successful liking successful replacement methods of family readying is an understandable consequence of nan woeful deficiency of invention successful contraception complete nan past 50 years.'

She added: 'While location are much contraceptive options connected nan market, speech from nan copper coil, each medicine methods are variations connected nan aforesaid synthetic hormones utilized since nan 1960s.

The proportionality of women taking oral contraceptives has fallen by much than two-thirds, from 420,600 successful 2012/13 to 126,400 successful 2022/23, according to nan NHS data. Around 555,400 women turned to nan wellness service's intersexual and reproductive wellness services successful 2022/23 — balanced to 4 per cent of 13 to 54-year-olds. Of these, 8,800 confessed to utilizing 'natural family planning' arsenic their main method of contraception

The NHS says earthy family readying tin beryllium up to 99 per cent effective erstwhile done correctly and astir 75 per cent if not utilized according to instructions. By comparison, nan Pill, implant, IUS and IUD are 99 per cent effective pinch cleanable use, while condoms are 98 per cent

Coronation Street star, Lucy Fallon (pictured past month), lauded nan 'non-hormonal and non-invasive' contraceptive method earlier this twelvemonth successful a station promoting nan Natural Cycles app months aft giving birth

Former Made successful Chelsea prima Tiffany Watson (pictured successful July 2022) besides promoted nan app connected societal media months aft welcoming her first child, earlier this year. Natural Cycles, made by a Swedish-based firm, costs £69.99 a twelvemonth and claims to beryllium 93 per cent effective pinch emblematic usage and 98 per cent effective pinch cleanable use

'Women are still being told to "put up" pinch side-effects their mothers knowledgeable decades earlier. 

'It is important that women person evidence-based accusation astir nan efficacy of contraceptive methods, including apps.

'But alternatively than criticising women for exploring caller options, we should beryllium asking ourselves why location has been truthful small invention successful this basal area of women's healthcare.'

Other than earthy family planning, condoms, IUDs and diaphragms are among nan fewer different non-hormonal options available.  

Social media videos highlighting nan benefits of switching to 'natural' contraception person racked up hundreds of thousands of views this twelvemonth alone. 

In 1 TikTok posted past month, influencer @amanda_pac told her 17,000 followers: 'When I was connected nan pill, I sewage really utilized to these days that were really conscionable a discarded of a day. 

'I didn't want to get retired of bed, I was truthful sad and location was nary trigger aliases reason. 

'That doesn't hap to maine anymore, ever. I can't retrieve nan past time I was really really sad unless location was a logic to beryllium sad.'

She added: 'At this constituent successful my life I decidedly ne'er want to spell connected thing hormonal ever again. Just being earthy is specified a flex. I consciousness for illustration it's conscionable truthful nice. 

'On apical of it, I was capable to yet suffer nan weight that I'd gained successful nan past fewer months I was connected nan pill. It took a really agelong clip to get there.' 

In different TikTok clip watched much than 24,500 times, @makeke_g shared photos of herself earlier starting to usage nan Pill and erstwhile connected nan Pill. 

'Gurl one gained 35 pounds and I cant get free of it,' she wrote.

Horror stories astir achy IUD coil installations, never-ending periods caused by nan pill and contraceptive pill-induced temper swings are communal arguments utilized by influencers arguing successful favour of earthy family planning.

Known broadside effects of nan Pill — proven to beryllium complete 99 per cent effective astatine stopping pregnancy — see nausea, bosom tenderness, temper swings and headaches.

Others declare they heap connected pounds while taking nan because of accrued fluid retention and appetite, yet nan NHS says location is nary grounds it leads to weight gain.

Decades of investigation has grounded to supply immoderate conclusive grounds that this expected broadside effect is real.

However, rarer broadside effects see humor clots and a somewhat heightened consequence of bosom and cervical cancer.

Celebs person besides posted akin messages hailing nan benefits of 1 earthy family readying app — Natural Cycles — successful sponsored posts. 

Attwood described nan app arsenic 'the aureate ticket' and criticised different contraceptive options for leaving her 'uncomfortable' and battling 'mood swings and migraines'. 

Love Island's Montana Brown defended utilizing nan app — which immoderate of her followers labelled 'risky' and 'irresponsible' — claiming she had 'no idea' of nan effects of nan Pill connected her assemblage and wherever she was successful her rhythm anterior to utilizing Natural Cycles. 

Both Fallon and Watson lauded nan 'non-hormonal and non-invasive' contraceptive method earlier this twelvemonth successful posts promoting nan app months aft giving birth.

In 1 TikTok posted past period and seen 325,000 times, @amanda_pac, told her followers: 'When I was connected nan pill, I sewage really utilized to these days that were really conscionable a discarded of a day.' She added: 'I didn't want to get retired of bed, I was truthful sad and location was nary trigger aliases reason. That doesn't hap to maine anymore, ever. I can't retrieve nan past time I was really really sad unless location was a logic to beryllium sad. On apical of that it's truthful cool to beryllium really capable to consciousness your assemblage spell done nan rhythm that it's expected to spell done because commencement power benignant of numbs that each and now I'm truthful successful tune pinch wherever I americium and what's happening'

Meanwhile successful different watched complete 24,500 times, @makeke_g shared photos of herself earlier starting to usage commencement power and aft erstwhile connected nan pill. 'Gurl one gained 35 pounds and I cant get free of it,' she wrote

Natural Cycles, made by a Swedish-based firm, costs £69.99 a twelvemonth and claims to beryllium 93 per cent effective pinch emblematic usage and 98 per cent effective pinch cleanable use. 

By comparison, nan Pill, implant, IUS and IUD are 99 per cent effective pinch cleanable use, nan NHS say, while condoms are 98 per cent. 

Natural Cycles claims to have hundreds of thousands of British users, while different fertility tracking apps, for illustration Flo and Clue, opportunity they person millions of users worldwide.

Natural Cycles uses assemblage somesthesia readings, play information and optional ovulation trial results to cipher regular fertility position — identifying 'green days' erstwhile a female america improbable to autumn pregnant and 'red days' erstwhile contraception would beryllium needed. 

While Natural Cycles was nan first commencement power app cleared by nan US Food and Drug Administration in 2018 and certified successful nan European Union in 2017, nan NHS does not urge it arsenic an effective method.

It argues that, for illustration galore different contraceptives, earthy family planning does not protect against STIs specified arsenic chlamydia aliases HIV.

Meanwhile, stress, illness, travel, manner and hormonal treatments tin disrupt fertility signs — raising nan consequence of specified apps giving inaccurate accusation connected fertility status — and do not activity without continued committedness and practice.

Dr Barter told MailOnline: 'There is nary azygous method of contraception that is nan champion prime for each personification who needs it and location are pros and cons to each method.

'While nan coil remains nan astir effective shape of contraception, pinch 99 per cent efficacy erstwhile fitted correctly and lasting for 5 to 10 years, it is not for everyone.'

BPAS puts nan fertility consciousness method, which is akin to nan thought down Natural Cycles, astatine astir a 15 per cent chance of failure.

It comes as the UK information watchdog past period announced it was group to reappraisal play and fertility search apps complete information information concerns.

The Information Commissioner's Office probe was successful consequence to figures showing half of women utilizing nan apps are concerned complete really their individual accusation is  processed.

The apps person antecedently travel nether occurrence from UK watchdogs. 

In 2018, a Facebook advertisement for Natural Cycles was banned by nan UK's Advertising Standards Authority, aft its claims that it was 'highly accurate' and 'provided a clinically tested replacement to different commencement power methods' were recovered to beryllium misleading.


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