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Hormone-Free Family Planning: We’ve Got an App for That!

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You’re going to switch contraceptives anyway (damn side effects!), new apps & gadgets are making NFP easy-peasy

• Basal Body Temperature (BBT), which involves taking and recording your daily waking temperature and observing the changing patterns (notably, a rise of about one-half degree Fahrenheit soon after ovulation).
• The Ovulation Method (OM),  which involves observing and recording the patterns and changes in
cervical fluids
• The Sympto-thermal (ST) Method, which combines recording the daily waking temperature, observing changes in cervical fluid, the cycle length and other minor signs of fertility
 The Marquette Model of NFP uses the Clear Blue Fertility Monitor to observe and record these fertility signs, providing an extra level of precision and confirmation.

A medical expert for Parents.com describes her top picks in NFP apps and gadgets.

Best Apple App: Woman Calendar”: At only $10, the Woman Calendar works on i-anything and tracks, charts and graphs easy-to-input information, such as the dates of ovulation, menstrual periods, daily basal body temperature and sexual activities. The iTunes app store has less sophisticated versions, like Lily and Ovulator, for under $10 and a free “Menstrual Calendar.”

Best Android App: WomanLog Calendar”: Parents’ expert Melissa M. Goist, MD claims that her medical assistant “swears by” this free, pretty and easy to use app. By tapping the date on the calendar, one can type in and track dates of periods, basal body temperatures and days of peak fertility. More than 11,300 users have given the WomanLog Calendar an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

TheBest Basal Body Thermometer: Optimus Petit Sophia Fertility Monitor” (at $90) is much, much more than a typical basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer. Although it looks like a thermometer, it stores temperatures and symptoms for 210 days, “indicates fertile days, possibility of pregnancy, and hypothetical due dates.” It even has an alarm clock to remind you to take your temperature at the same time every morning. The one drawback is that the monthly elevation in BBT occurs only after ovulation and the fertile period begins five days earlier. But the monitor can tell you if your cycles are regular and, after a few months, you can predict the fertile days of future cycles.

Best Ovulation Test: Clearblue Easy Digital Ovulation Test” is 99 percent accurate in detecting the rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) which triggers ovulation in 24 – 36 hours and identifying the two peak days of fertility. At $37 for 20 tests, it’s economical and fast (results in three minutes)

Best Fertility Monitor: Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor” tracks levels of both LH and estrogen, so it can identify six fertile days each cycle — from four days before ovulation to the day after ovulation. Because it stores the hormonal information month after month, it “customizes itself to your body and cycle” even if your cycles are irregular. The basic cost is $132; test strips cost $32 for 30.   

Best Fertility Watch: OV-Watch” ($130) can detect ovulation and fertility by monitoring chloride ion secretion in your skin merely by contact. Enough tiny sensors for a month run an additional $40. The OV-Watch alerts you four days prior to ovulation.  

 

Parents.com readers also recommended Kindara as a terrific app for tracking fertility on your iPhone or Android device. One of its helpful features is being able to access a large community of users, as well as Kindara staff, to answer questions about tracking and interpreting data.

Susan Willsis a senior writer for Aleteia’s English language edition.
 

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