When you choose a contraception, you obviously want it to work. Most people who use a condom don’t assume that saran wrap will work just as well. So why would you think just using any old period tracker would give you the information you need to prevent pregnancy?
But search for a fertility tracker in your phone’s app store, and you’re going to be overwhelmed with options. There are 1000+ available!
There are period trackers that just track your period so you know when to have tampons on hand and there are apps that swear you’ll get pregnant faster, or that they’ll record everything they need in your sleep. And yes, there are a few apps that can be used to prevent pregnancy.
How do you know which to choose? Here are some questions to ask yourself to help narrow down the options.
What’s my purpose?
No, we’re not talking about that deep existential question that we all ask ourselves when our partner ate the last piece of cold pepperoni pizza.
Instead, what’s your purpose for this app? Because what you want to use it for will help you decide which app to choose.
For instance, if you simply want to track your period because you don’t want Aunt Flo to catch you by surprise, there are a bunch of free period tracker apps available.
If you’re trying to get pregnant and you want to know when you’re fertile so you can call your partner to meet you at the motel that promises free color TV (but who’s watching?) over lunch break, then your options are a little more limited. Your basic period trackers are going to guesstimate your fertile days, but they may or may not be right.
And if you want an app that will help you prevent pregnancy, you have a different set of options. Some may be more time intensive than others, but essentially, you’ll be alerted with a big warning sign on fertile days so you know to avoid sex like the plague (or at least be sure to have a condom on hand). Many of these fertility apps want you to purchase additional tools like a basal temperature thermometer so you can track your temps to know when you’re ovulating and they may or may not be free. While this is a perfectly valid way to track your fertility, who remembers to take their temp every morning while lying in bed without moving?
Or *shameless plug* you could just try Dot. You can do all of the above on our app, and our algorithms are pretty darn accurate for telling you when you’re fertile, when you’re not, and when you’re next period is due.
Does it work?
This right here is a biggie. Because if something claims to prevent pregnancy, it best have some strong evidence behind it. Before you choose an app, you want to make sure it does what it says. Read reviews, documentation, news articles to see the science backing up the app. For instance, with Dot, we’ve partnered with third-party experts to evaluate our algorithms and to prove their effectiveness. Especially when you’re using an app to prevent pregnancy, you’re going to want to know that the developers behind the app actually know what they’re doing.
Will you use it?
Final question. A birth control method only works if you actually use it.
So. Are you going to take your basal temp every morning?
Are you going to consistently update the app so it knows what’s going on?
Or do you need a birth control solution that is as hand’s off as possible?
If extra steps or remembering to do something each day is going to be tough, then find an app that uses as little intervention as possible.
That’s why we made Dot crazy simple for end users. You only have to enter your period start date each month, and we do the rest. Sure, you can enter notes and symptoms if you want, but if you’re one of those people who doesn’t want to think about your period three weeks out of the month, Dot is for you.
Want to give Dot a try? Download it in the app store today!
Cycle Technologies is a socially minded consumer product company based in Washington, D.C. The company creates Brilliantly Simple™ solutions to address global health needs with particular focus on reproductive health technologies. Since 2002 the company has worked with researchers, healthcare partners, and technologists to identify, develop, and make available leading edge ideas that fit its mission. To see more about the company’s initiatives, visit http://www.CycleTechnologies.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.