So you’re trying to get pregnant- or, you’re not. You’re in bed every night pumping that passion or you’re actively trying to avoid it. Either way, maybe you’d rather not turn to fertility treatments to get what you want, or ingest a bunch of hormones that will falsely program your body into thinking it’s pregnant in order to avoid becoming so.
Consequently, you’ve found yourself turning to technology for help. And good old-fashioned nature.
What am I talking about? Many women these days are combining the use of fertility apps and the ‘rhythm method’ to tap into their body’s signals when it comes to conception.
Using the rhythm method, women track their periods to try and accurately predict when they will ovulate.
In theory, this allows a female to have a better chance at becoming pregnant (or avoiding it), without the use of other forms of contraception, as the window of ovulation indicates when a women is most likely to become pregnant.
Fertility apps help with all of this by offering a plethora of ways for women to track their vital information, and by recommending days to have or avoid having sex in relation to the data.
Sound useful? The apps can track everything from a woman’s basal body temperature to dates of ovulation and sexual activity.
The problem is that, first of all, the rhythm method isn’t foolproof as a means to prevent pregnancy by any means. The Mayo clinic estimates that about 13 out of every 100 women practicing the method for birth control will become pregnant.
And moreover, even with the most organized and detailed woman entering her data into her phone for results and recommendations, many fertility apps-which often require payment to use- don’t actually really work.
That’s right: the technology sometimes doesn’t offer the right advice.
Even the creators of some apps admit it. A study done by the makers of The Natural Cycles fertility app, published in the European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care showed that the app sometimes recommended a safe day for sex, but got it wrong.
The study included over 4,000 Swedish women, and looked at how helpful the app was for women trying to conceive and those trying to avoid pregnancy. During the study period a total of 143 unplanned pregnancies occurred, 10 of which were the result of the app falsely indicating a safe day.
That’s a margin error of almost 7%. So, while the apps may be great for helping women to conceive, they might not be the best thing for those aiming to avoid it. 7% is seven above zero, and when you add in human error, the chances that using a fertility app to guide against conceiving will land you in hot water likely go up.
The bottom line? If you are fastidious and think you can stay on top of things- like entering daily data and ensuring you follow the technology’s recommendations to a ‘T’- sure, give an app a try.
But if you and your partner absolutely wish to have sex and absolutely do not wish to have a baby at this time, perhaps take time to talk to your doctor about other effective methods of birth control. Just sayin’.
And if you’re dating and may have different partners at different times, it goes without saying: as smart as our smartphones are, they can do nothing to protect you against STIS and sexually transmitted diseases floating around out there in the great beyond.
Buyer beware. Go and get some condoms, and use the app for interest.