Monday, April 1, 2013

Review of the LadyComp

After my horrifying Mirena experience, I did not want to get on any kind of prescription medication. Because birth control is necessary, I opted for Fertility Awareness Method. You can read more about FAM here if you're unfamiliar with it, but basically it's knowing when you can get pregnant and when you can't and having sex accordingly. So yes, sex is put on a bit of a schedule, or at least, unprotected sex is put on a schedule, but I'd take that any day over the horrors of the side effects of medication.

FAM uses charting and basal body temperature readings, as well as secondary signs (and sometimes third signs!) such as your cervical fluid, and it can be very straight forward. But sometimes it isn't. When I was researching FAM to find out if it was right for me, I came across many forum postings from women who were nervous: "I had unprotected sex on this day, but I'm not sure when I ovulated. Could I be PREGNANT?!" 

I can't speak to the skill level of these women in using FAM. I just knew I didn't want to be one of them. In almost every forum, women suggested the LadyComp, BabyComp, or the Pearly to those who could afford it. While it wasn't easily affordable for me (though they do have payment plans), I coughed up the money and I am so happy I did.

What is it? 
The LadyComp is natural, hormonal free birth control. It's part thermometer, which you need to take your temperature, and part computer, which stores your temperature (and height, weight, age, etc) and compares it to hundreds of thousands of other women to determine if you're fertile or not.

Which one should I get?
The BabyComp is a device for women who are trying to get pregnant. It can even help you choose a sex, though it's not 100% reliable. It takes your temperature and tells you the best days to have sex in order to have a little bundle of joy.

The LadyComp is a birth control device. It takes your temperature and tells you which days not to have sex. The Pearly is a cheaper version of the LadyComp. The display isn't as large, and it doesn't keep as much of your information in it's database, but it essentially does the same thing.

If you get the LadyComp and decide you do want a baby (at some point), you can pay a fee and upgrade the software so your LadyComp because a BabyComp. Or you don't have to. Just have sex on the red days and a baby should appear 9 months later. ;-)

How much?
So I spent a lot of money on the LadyComp, and it made me a little sick to my stomach, even a month or so afterwards. Yes, it's an investment. Yes, I'll save money long term. Yes, I could have bought a used one on eBay or Craigslist to save money, but when you're unemployed, spending money at all seems like a bad idea.

If you can't come up with the money and you're interested, I encourage you to look into their payment plan or look around on the internet for a used one.

I bought a new one because I wanted the warranty. (No point in spending all that money if it breaks!)

How does it work?
A red light means don't have sex. Green means go for it. The first few months, I got a lot of yellow lights. And yellow means that the machine is still learning my body, and it's best to treat it as a red day. I wasn't totally pleased with the yellow lights (nor was my boyfriend), but because I was tracking my chart alongside the machine, I had a little better of an idea about when I could have sex (and also if the machine was working properly).

I found that the machine is very conservative (hence all the yellow lights) in figuring out my ovulation days. It's much better now - I rarely, if ever, get a yellow day. Currently, my red days start the day before my cervical fluid shows up, so it's exactly on point with that. It's also great at determining the day I'm ovulating and when I can start having sex again.

In fact, now I only track my charts for my doctors to reference.

The LadyComp stores information for the last 180 days in its database, but it doesn't organize it like a chart - it's just numbers.

Does it actually work?
The Lady Comp has a Pearl Index rating of .7, which means less than 1 out of 100 women who use this will get pregnant. To compare, the pill has a PI between .1-.9 and diaphragms have a PI of 1-3. So compared to other hormonal alternatives, it's about the same, if not better. Percentage wise, it's 99.3% accurate.

You can compare their devices to other, more standard birth control measures on their website.

I encourage you to poke around their website and give it a shot if you're interested.

Let me know if you have any questions!