Oct 11, 2018

Can Your Smartphone Get You Pregnant?

How your phone can help your health.
By: Katherine Flemming

It’s there for you when you’re ordering late night ramen and when you’re swiping left (or right). Our smartphones document the good times (that Coachella photo reel) and the darker ones (that awkward tipsy text exchange with your ex). So it’s no surprise that people are turning to their phones to track their period cycles—whether they’re hoping to avoid pregnancy or simply to glean some information about their bodies.

“90% of the patients that I see in my clinic are using some kind of fertility app,” says Dr. Dan Nayot, a reproductive endocrinologist at TRIO Fertility Clinic in Toronto. “It’s really useful because I get to see the patients’ patterns and the way they tracked that data. It’s important for people to have information about their body, because changes in your cycle can be quite informative.”

And while it’s helpful to know that hey, Today Is Ovulation Day!, be aware that the majority of the apps use a similar algorithm, says Nayot. “They’re all calculating the most optimum time to get pregnant. We talk about robot females who ovulate on day 14 out of a 28 day cycle,” says Nayot. Yet many women have cycles closer to 35 days, so the apps will adjust the scale and optimize the ideal day to conceive.

Since sperm can last up for a few days, aim to have sex well before that magical ovulation day to ensure that the sperm and egg run into each other. As for planning hookups every day? You might find it exhausting, says Nayot. “The 14 days before ovulation day and the 14 days after are what we call, ‘recreational intercourse’,” says Nayot.

So, you do you!

Here, some of the of the latest apps to flood the fertility market:

  1. Life Period Tracker: This app boasts a beautiful interface with the customizable option for longer cycles. It can calculate an average based on your last three to twelve periods, which can make for a more accurate ovulation date.

  2. Fertility Friend: This app’s welcoming name is reflected in their extensive forum, where users can tell stories, search keywords (i.e., thyroid medication) and share pictures of positive pregnancy tests.

  3. Glow: This inviting interface and relatable language such as “It’s OK to guess” (the date of your last period) and “magic and science at work” removes some of the seriousness out of what can be a very stressful process. It also functions like a mini Facebook feed with fertility-related news, polls and quizzes.

  4. Ovia: This app offers a fertility “score” (which feels a bit labelled), but also offers beneficial information like a countdown for the soonest date you can take a pregnancy test as well as an symptom-logging zone, where you can indicate physical and emotional changes in your body.

  5. P Planner: Being able to log your weight, temperature and spotting frequency is makes for an excellent primer that you can share with your doctor the next time you see them. Consider this an entry-level tracker if you’re just starting to thinking about family planning.

  6. Flo: Adaptable chart tracking for periods, fertility planning and beyond—following your pregnancy (so you don’t need to switch apps), is great for a seamless overview of your fertility health. The ‘Health Insights’ reel is well-curated, and an upgrade to the “Premium” analyzes mood and generates a report that you can share with your doctor.

  7. Natural Cycles: This stylish, detailed app is cleared by the FDA and designated as a certified form of birth control in Europe. Because of this, it forces the user to read through a waiver about its birth control capabilities (spoiler alert: it’s not foolproof!). The catch here that in order to get the most accurate prediction for ovulation day, you must purchase a specific digital thermometer to measure your body temperature, every single day.

  8. OvaGraph: Taking charting to the next level, this app allows users to oversee their numbers and get more details from an entire book that dives deeper into the fertility journey.

  9. Cycles: A colourful interface that is reminiscent of an artist’s palette, this app gets straight to the point, synching from your iPhone’s Health Data, and the option to synch with your partner so you’re both looped in on ideal days for ovulation (in case you need to book a flight to NYC.

  10. Kindara: This app also sync with a wireless basal body temperature thermometer, making the process of measuring and tracking your BBT that much simpler. The bluetooth-enabled Wireless Wink looks is discrete and cute, but rings in at a cool $129.

And finally, you can take all of this information collection to the next level with Ava: a bracelet that you casually wear while sleeping to determine the most fertile days of the month.

So if you’re in the #TTC camp (trying to conceive), being able to track your mood and body temp with your smartphone might give you that sense of empowerment and control that can often seem to slip away when you’re trying to align everything from your mood to your sex drive, all within that frustratingly small ovulation window.

Disclaimer: These apps are no substitute for a proper work-up with your doctor. And if your cycle suddenly shifts dramatically, make an appointment to speak with your doctor immediately.

Tags: fertility
Do you have a personal story you’d like to share? Share your story on social media with the hashtag #FacesofFertility to show the world this is an issue we all face.

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