The period management marketplace has exploded with new apps calling themselves period trackers, ovulation predictors, fertility apps, and even birth control. And while these apps have gotten a lot of coverage of late, there seems to be confusion about what they are actually designed to do. Yes, they all relate to “women’s stuff", but they aren't all doing the same thing.
Is an app designed to track your period and moods the same as one designed for pregnancy planning and prevention? Is an app that reminds you to take your pill each day the same as one that gives you information about whether or not you’re fertile today?
But it’s no wonder people are confused. Sometimes the apps themselves are vague or even misleading. And even the experts often lump them all into one great big basket of womanhood.
Let us break it down for you. There are three types of “fertility apps”:
Family Planning Apps - Apps that can be used as birth control and for pregnancy planning. These apps are based on one of the few proven family planning methods, including Standard Days Method, TwoDay Method, Sympto-Thermal Method, and Ovulation Method. They require different inputs from users depending on which method is used. There are only a handful of family planning apps. They include: Dot, CycleBeads, TwoDay Method, and Kindara.
Pregnancy Planning-Only Apps - These apps aim to help you get pregnant. They may or may not use a scientifically proven algorithm or method. These apps tend to use a general rule or proprietary algorithm, but it’s unclear which method is being used. They often include features that address women’s pregnancy planning concerns, i.e. nutritional journals, community forums, etc. They include: Ovia, Glow, and many others. They are often confused with Period Tracking Journals which offer some of the same information.
Period Tracking Journals - Apps that let you track all kinds of information related to your period and menstrual cycle, and which should be used for informational purposes only - though they may be helpful if you are trying to get pregnant. There are hundreds of these and they vary from the basic to the involved. They include Pink Pad, Period Tracker, Clue, Eve, and HUNDREDS of others.
So what should you look for in your fertility app? The most important thing is to KNOW YOUR GOAL. If you are looking for an app to help you plan or prevent pregnancy, make sure you know what method it uses and are comfortable with using that method. And make sure it comes from a respected source.
Where do Cycle Technologies’ apps fit into this? Our goal is to provide women with contraceptive solutions that meet their needs. All of our apps - Dot, CycleBeads, and TwoDay Method, are family planning apps. They are based on proven, effective family planning methods. These methods are designed to be exceptionally easy to use, which is how they are different than other family planning apps. But we’ll leave that for another post.