So you want to start tracking your cycle. Maybe you’re thinking about using an app to help you get pregnant. Or maybe you’re considering using an app to prevent pregnancy.
A quick search in the app store may leave you scratching your head. You’ll find there are 1000s+ trackers that claim to do everything from pinpointing ovulation to figuring out your yet to be conceived child’s moon sign.
Seriously, it’s a lot to take in.
Where to start? Before you download anything, consider these questions:
What do you want to do with it? Are you just interested in tracking your period dates and keeping a record so the next time you’re in your doctor’s office, you can tell her when your last menstrual period started? Or are you thinking about using an app to help you conceive or prevent pregnancy?
While there are a gazillion “fertility apps” that can help you track your cycles, they are designed to do very different things. Make sure you read the fine print, and understand what an app is actually meant to do.
How is the app calculating the information it is giving you? Is the app based on a known family planning method or an advanced algorithm that has been well researched and explained? Or is it just using some basic averages? Or even worse – is it using pseudo-science?
Helpful tip: The answer to that last one is “yes, it’s pseudo-science” if you’re looking at any app that claims to help you pick the gender of your baby
If you are using an app for pregnancy prevention, what fertility awareness method is it using? Some fertility awareness methods require charting or tracking daily symptoms, others require only period tracking. What are you comfortable doing and likely to keep doing over time?
Who is behind the app? Fertility apps have suddenly become quite popular and a lot of developers are jumping in making “me-too” apps or getting users to download with some crazy claims. Knowing who is behind the app, and that it’s coming from a credible source – not just a couple of guys who thought they’d jump on the bandwagon - makes a difference. If an app comes from a credible company, it is more likely that the information you are getting is accurate and that the app will be well maintained. It’s also more likely that if you do have an issue, there will be someone willing to answer your questions and respond.
Ok – we said, only 5 questions. But here’s a bonus question.Has the app been tested? Recent research shows that a lot of these apps aren’t giving accurate information. If you’re using a digital health app of any kind, it’s important that you know what type of research and evaluation it’s undergone. Frankly, most fertility apps have had zero review.
We’re proud that our products have undergone extensive evaluation by outside researchers. Check out this recent article in Forbes on the contraceptive efficacy study that our Dot app is currently undergoing.
Cycle Technologies is a social impact company focused on women's health. Our mission is to prevent unintended pregnancies and help people have the families they want when they are ready. Products include CycleBeads®, TwoDay™, and Dot™. Connect with us anytime! Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or drop us a line at info@CycleTechnologies.com.