For many people, their entire life is on their phone — bank details, photos, address book, workout logs — and now, women are using smartphone apps as a method of contraception. In lieu of any other form of birth control, these fertility apps are designed to track your period, predict your ovulation days, and understand the changes in your body from month to month. But do they work?
Bethanie Alys, 21, started using an app she downloaded to her phone to track her periods in the beginning of a new relationship. Within a few months, she became pregnant with her son, Lake, who is now 4 months old. On the other end of the spectrum, 34-year-old Sara Flyckt has been using an app called NaturalCycles with great results for 18 months in conjunction with ovulation tests and recording her basal body temperature (BBT) every morning (an increase in temperature signals ovulation, so recording BBT daily helps the app to create patterns over time).
Dr. Shazia Malik, consultant obstetrician at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children in London, told the Daily Mail that while apps "may be helpful to predict peak fertility, they are by no means reliable enough to use as a failsafe method. . . . Even women who have a predictable menstrual cycle only ovulate on the same day 80 percent of the time and even if measuring their BBT some women don't have that rise in temperature associated with ovulation."
Would you use an app in lieu of any other form of birth control?