This blog is written by our clinicians and aims to keep patients informed with up to date information on medical conditions.
In recent times it has become increasingly popular for women to track menstruation on mobile apps. The use of technology to take the guesswork out of tracking is significantly helping women to work out fertile days and also when to use contraception. Although reproductive apps are useful for menstruation tracking, their reliability for contraception use is variable.
There are many reasons why these apps are appealing for use as contraception. Mainly, not requiring additional hormones to regulate fertility and using your own cycle as a guide. However, reproductive cycles are not always predictable and ovulation may not occur at the expected time. Having irregular menstrual cycles also means it is difficult to work out when the fertile days occur. Timing is crucial however; remembering to use contraception on fertile days.
The inaccuracy of these apps has also led to concerns about reliability. Studies have looked at various apps that predicted days of fertility and have found that the majority are unreliable. In one study, they found “that only 6 apps that claimed to be appropriate for pregnancy prevention could correctly identify the fertile window.” Furthermore, they stated that “the majority of these accurate apps are simply electronic platforms for existing, scientifically validated fertility awareness methods (FAMs)…
Because the majority of these methods are reliant on user interpretation, use of such apps is recommended in conjunction with appropriate training by a facilitator certified in a particular FAM method.” https://www.jabfm.org/content/29/4/508.long
At ROC clinic we look at what you want from contraception and what works best for your circumstances. No longer is the pill the only option for contraception. We can discuss a whole range of methods that are effective, long lasting and reversible. Some of these methods are non-hormonal.
We offer all contraceptive options available in the UK and help you to find a method that works best for you.
You can find further information on contraception HERE:
By Dr Wendy Knoops
Articles of interest:
Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, Kristina Gemzell Danielsson, Jonas A. Sellberg & Raoul Scherwitzl (2016) Fertility awareness-based mobile application for contraception, The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care, 21:3, 234-241, DOI: 10.3109/13625187.2016.1154143
The Performance of Fertility Awareness-based Method Apps Marketed to Avoid Pregnancy
Marguerite Duane, Alison Contreras, Elizabeth T. Jensen, Amina White
The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine Jul 2016, 29 (4) 508-511; DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2016.04.160022