Frequently Asked Questions

Dot is an easy-to-use fertility app that can help you plan or prevent pregnancy and predict future periods simply by entering start dates of your period.  Getting started using the app is a quick process, but there are a number of features to get acquainted with and various circumstances that come up during its use. 

FAQs

ABOUT DOT

HOW DOES DOT WORK?


Dot is designed for preventing or planning pregnancy. It is an algorithm-based method, meaning it uses complex statistics along with known fertility science, vetted fertility data sets and your own unique cycle lengths to determine your custom pregnancy chance for each day of your cycle. For preventing pregnancy, Dot is 95% effective with typical use and 99% effective when used correctly.* Correct use means using an effective barrier method, such as condoms, or abstaining from sexual intercourse on High-risk days.

*V. Jennings, L. Haile, et. al. (2019) “Perfect- and typical-use effectiveness of the Dot fertility app over 13 cycles: results from a prospective contraceptive effectiveness trial.” The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care




HOW ACCURATELY CAN DOT DETERMINE FERTILE DAYS AND NEXT PERIODS?


Dot uses an advanced algorithm that uses your unique cycle lengths to give you accurate information about your pregnancy chance for each day of your cycle and the start dates of your next periods. As you enter more period-start dates into the app, Dot personalizes the information further and refine its predictions. Dot calculates a your risk for pregnancy and classifies days as High, Medium or Low-risk. It predicts your next 6 periods and the range of days (+/-) when they are likely to start.




WILL IT TAKE THE APP TIME TO GET TO KNOW MY CYCLE?


As you enter more period-start dates, Dot will reduce the number of days marked as High and Medium risk. Dot will narrow your potentially fertile time from 16 days to approximately 11 to 13 days per cycle.




IS DOT THE RIGHT METHOD FOR ME?


That's a personal choice, but almost anyone can use Dot as long as their cycles are in a range of 20 to 40 days. If your cycles are extremely short (shorter than 20 days) or extremely long (longer than 40 days), you may want to talk to your healthcare provider.




HOW EFFECTIVE IS DOT?


A contraceptive effectiveness study has shown Dot to be 95% effective in preventing pregnancy with typical use, or “real world” use; Dot is more effective, 99%, when used consistently correctly.*

To use Dot correctly, use an effective barrier method, such as condoms, or abstain from sexual intercourse on High-risk days.

The withdrawal method, also called the pull-out method, is not recommended on High-risk days, because it is not considered an effective way to prevent pregnancy.

*V. Jennings, L. Haile, et. al. (2019) “Perfect- and typical-use Leffectiveness of the Dot fertility app over 13 cycles: results from a prospective contraceptive effectiveness trial.” The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care

This study was sponsored by USAID, the US Agency for International Development.





HOW TO USE DOT

HOW DO I USE DOT?


Dot is easy to use. Simply enter your Period Start Date when prompted or tap the "+" sign in the top, right-hand corner. The app calculates your fertile days and shows on which days you could become pregnant and which days you cannot.

• To prevent pregnancy: Use an effective barrier method such as condoms on High-risk days, or abstain from sexual intercourse on those days.

• To plan a pregnancy: Target frequent intercourse (2-3 times per week) on High and Medium days. It generally takes 1 to 6 months to achieve pregnancy. For some couples, up to one year is not unusual. If not pregnant after six months of frequent intercourse on High and Medium days, then it is recommened to consult your doctor.




DO I NEED TO LOOK FOR OTHER FERTILITY SIGNS TO USE DOT?


No. Dot does not require you to track other fertility signs such as temperature or cervical secretions. That information is not needed to use this method, but you can track it in the Notes feature if you would like.




HOW DOES DOT KNOW WHEN I OVULATE?


Dot identifies the date when you are most likely to ovulate based on your unique cycle lengths and global fertility data. It is important to know that ovulation could occur earlier or later than this date. The estimated ovulation date is for informational purposes only. If using Dot to prevent or plan pregnancy, adhere to Dot's recommendations regarding High- or Low-risk days. You can view the estimated date on your Profile screen.




WHAT IS A "CYCLE"?


A "cycle" refers to your menstrual cycle. A new cycle begins on the first day of your period and ends the day before your next period begins. The first day of your period is the first day of recognizable menstrual bleeding. Dot calls this your "Period Start Date." The Dot algorithm is effective for cycles between 20 and 40 days long.




IF I GET MY PERIOD AT NIGHT, WHICH DATE SHOULD I ENTER AS MY START DATE?


If you notice your period before you going to bed, use the date of that day, if you wake up with your period, use the date of that morning.




WHAT IF I EXPERIENCE AN UNUSUAL CYCLE?


It is normal for you to experience variation in your cycle. However, there are a number of reasons you may have a single cycle that is unusual for you. Extreme stress, miscarriage, use of emergency contraception, illness, and some medications can all affect your cycle temporarily.
If you experience an unusual cycle that you believe was due to a one-time event, then you can ask Dot to “ignore” that cycle so it will not affect your future calculations. But remember, in order to ensure that Dot is accurate, you should only ignore a cycle if you know that it was unusual due to a one-time event. To ignore a cycle, go to the List View on the top right of the Today or Cycles screen. In List View, swipe to the cycle you want to ignore. Press on the start date and pull downward to reveal the Delete and Ignore options. Select Ignore.




DOES SPOTTING COUNT AS THE START OF MY PERIOD?


The start of your period is the first day you have recognizable menstrual blood. This generally does not include minor spotting a day or so prior, or at other times in your cycle.




WHAT CAN MY CYCLE TELL ME ABOUT MY HEALTH AND FERTILITY?


Your cycle can tell you a lot about your overall health and fertility. A regular menstrual cycle is between 21-35 days long and is usually a good sign that you are ovulating. Cycles outside that range or that vary by 8 days or more may indicate an underlying health or fertility issue.
• Short cycles (shorter than 21 days) are an indication that you may not be ovulating. This can be a sign that menopause is approaching or other hormonal issue.
• Long cycles (longer than 35 days) or variable cycles (8 days or more difference in length) may indicate a health issue such as PCOS, which can affect your ability to get pregnant. Other reasons for long or variable cycles can include approaching menopause, diabetes, obesity, and illness – all of which can affect your fertility.
If you often experience short, long or variable cycles, talk to your healthcare provider to evaluate whether there are health concerns that may need addressing. A women's health professional may suggest tracking the following information: how many days your period lasts, how heavy or light it is, pain during menstruation, and other symptoms related to your periods or menstrual cycle.




WHEN SHOULD I TAKE A PREGNANCY TEST?


If you do not get your period by a week after the date on the period predictor, that is the time to consider taking a pregnancy test. If you take a test and it is negative and you still do not get your period after another five days, take another test. If the test result is positive, or if the result is negative and you still do not get your period, consult with your healthcare provider.




CAN I HAVE UNPROTECTED SEX ON LOW-RISK DAYS?


Unless you are at risk for sexually transmitted infection, you do not need to use protection on Low-risk days to avoid pregnancy.




DO I HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ON THE LOW DAY BEFORE THE FIRST HIGH DAY?


If you are using Dot for pregnancy prevention, then all days with sufficient risk for pregnancy are marked as High risk. Use protection or avoid sex on all High-risk days. On days marked as Low, there is extremely low risk of pregnancy. While you may take precautions according to your comfort level on any day, protection is not necessary on Low days.




HOW DO I PLAN A PREGNANCY USING DOT?


The general guideline for trying to conceive when using Dot is to have frequent intercourse (2 -3 times per week) on High and Medium days. It generally takes 1 to 6 cycles to achieve pregnancy, but up to one year is normal for some couples. If you are not pregnant after 6 cycles of frequent intercourse during Medium and High days, then both you and your partner may wish consider consulting with your respective doctors for a fertility evaluation.




WHAT IF I EXPERIENCE AN EXTREMELY SHORT OF EXTREMELY LONG CYCLE?


A cycle that is shorter than 20 days long is considered extremely short. A cycle that is longer tha 40 days is considered extremely long. Dot may not be as effective for you in preventing pregnancy, if you have cycles that are extremely short or long. If you experience an extremely short or long cycle and this was an unusual event for you, please check out the FAQ, "What if I experience an unusual cycle?"





SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES FOR GETTING STARTED WITH DOT

WHAT IF I AM QUITTING THE PILL?


• After stopping the pill, use Dot to track your cycles for three periods. • While tracking your cycles, use condoms or other effective barrier method at all times if you wish to prevent pregnancy. • When you get the third period, go into Dot's Settings and select Reset Dot. Then choose either Reset or Ignore All Cycles. [Reset will delete all data and start fresh; Ignore All Cycles will keep the data, but not use it in the calculations. ] • Enter the third period-start date and begin using Dot according to the instructions.




WHAT IF I HAVE USED EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION?


• Wait until your period comes back after using emergency contraception (EC). • If the cycle in which you used EC is either shorter or longer than usual, use the Ignore function to take that cycle out of Dot's calculations. • Enter the date of the period you got after taking EC and use Dot normally.




WHAT IF I HAVE HAD THE BIRTH CONTROL SHOT?


• Wait until the protection of the shot has ended, then use Dot to track your cycles for three periods.
• While tracking your cycles, use condoms or other effective barrier method to prevent pregnancy.
• When you get the third period, go into Dot's Settings and select Reset Dot. Then choose either Reset or Ignore All Cycles. [Reset will delete all data and start fresh; Ignore All Cycles will keep the data, but not use it in the calculations. ] • Enter the third period-start date and begin using Dot according to the instructions.




WHAT IF I HAVE HAD A HORMONAL IUD REMOVED?


• After the hormonal IUD is removed, use Dot to track your cycles until you have had three periods.
• While tracking your cycles, use condoms or other effective barrier method to prevent pregnancy.
.• When you get the third period, go into Dot's Settings and select Reset Dot. Then choose either Reset or Ignore All Cycles. [Reset will delete all data and start fresh; Ignore All Cycles will keep the data, but not use it in the calculations. ] • Enter the third period-start date. • Go to your Profile screen and select your mode of use, then use Dot normally according to the instructions.




WHAT IF I HAVE HAD A COPPER IUD (NON-HORMONAL IUD) REMOVED?


After you have a copper (non-hormonal) IUD removed, your cycles should be normal right away. You can use Dot as soon as you get your next period.




WHAT IF I AM BREASTFEEDING OR RECENTLY HAD A BABY?


• If you are breastfeeding or recently had a baby, wait until your periods return and you've had four periods. Use Dot to track your cycles during this time.
• While tracking your cycles, use condoms or other effective barrier method to prevent pregnancy.
• When you get the fourth period, go into Dot's Settings and select Reset Dot. Then choose either Reset or Ignore All Cycles. (Reset will delete all data and start fresh; Ignore All Cycles will keep the data you've entered, but Dot will not use the data in its calculations.)
• Enter the start date of the fourth period and begin using Dot according to the instructions.




DOES SPOTTING COUNT AS THE START OF MY PERIOD?


The start of your period is the first day you have recognizable menstrual blood. This generally does not include minor spotting a day or so prior, or at other times in your cycle.




WHAT IF I AM IN PERIMENOPAUSE?


• You can use Dot as long as your periods are regular.
• Stop using Dot for pregnancy prevention, if your cycles become shorter than 20 days, longer than 40 days and/or vary by more than 10 days from shortest to longest cycle. Dot detects pattern changes as you enter your period-start dates and will send you a health alert, if your cycles go out of range.
• If your cycles become irregular, you can use Dot in the Tracking Cycles mode for informational purposes, but do not rely on it further for pregnancy prevention.





ABOUT DOT USER DATA

HOW DO I BACK UP MY DOT DATA?


To back up the data you enter in Dot, use the Data Backup feature in the app Settings. In Settings, tap Data Backup and follow the prompts. Data files with your period dates and your Notes will be emailed to you. To restore data, use the information from the file to re-enter manually into the app. It is a good idea to back up your data occasionally, so that you have a record. The data you enter in the Dot app reside only on your phone and they are no longer accessible, if you delete the app or switch phones.




HOW DO I SHARE DATA FROM MY DOT APP WITH MY PARTNER?


The Dot Pro upgrade allows you to send a text or email from the Dot app to your partner. When you have Dot Pro, go to the Profile screen and scroll to the bottom of the page to set up your partner's contact information. To send you partner a message regarding your fertility status, tap the Share icon on the top, left of the Today screen.




IS MY DATA PRIVATE AND SECURE?


Dot takes your privacy seriously. Please review the Dot Privacy Policy here. The data you enter in Dot reside only in the app on your phone. We encourage you to use the Data Backup in Settings regularly and to password protect your Dot app, so that others who open your phone will not be able to access the app.




WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I RESET DOT?


If you select Reset Dot in the app Settings, you will have the options to Reset or Ignore All Cycles. If you select Reset, all the data will be cleared from the app and no risk predictions will be shown. The app will prompt you to enter a start date to get started using the app afresh. You can enter your most recent period-start date and any past, consecutive period dates that you may have a record of. If you select Ignore All Cycles, any cycle dates and Notes you may have entered will remain, but the cycle data will not be used in the pregnancy risk determinations or in the period predictor.





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