Fertility apps replace birth control for some

Birth control? There's an app for that. Lots of apps, actually. More women are ditching the pill in favor of more natural family planning methods with the help of technology right on their phones. But do they work? They have names like Kindara, Period Tracker, Groove, and Glow. All of these apps put your fertility at your fingertips by helping you track your cycles as you chart your temperature, fluids, and other signs of ovulation."It needs to be done at the same time, more or less, every day. So it needs to be done properly," said Dr. Alexander Quaas, a reproductive endocrinologist at OU Reproductive Medicine. "But if a patient has good awareness of their body, it might be a good method for them." Dr. Quaas warns against ditching the pill and relying on an app if you absolutely don't want to get pregnant. Natural family planning must be done perfectly for it to work. "Historically, the failure rate of that method has been quoted as relatively high," he said.But for couples wanting to conceive a child, Dr. Quaas has seen the apps be very helpful. They can show you when the best times around ovulation to have intercourse. And they can help doctors too. "Definitely," said Dr. Quaas. "Especially for those in the fertility field." Patients having troubling getting pregnant often share information from the apps when first meeting with fertility doctors. "Often times at the first consultation, the patient brings in a printout from their app with a summary from the last few months," Dr. Quaas said.Whether it's to try to get pregnant or prevent pregnancy, using fertility apps and keeping such detailed records on your fertility isn't right for everyone. But it is an option more women are becoming aware of. Something else to consider if you're choosing between the pill and more natural methods of preventing pregnancy- the pill has other benefits like reduced chances of ovarian cancer. The bottom line is there are lots of options for birth control, so talk with your doctor.If you've been trying to get pregnant for more than a year without any luck, it's time to see a specialist.
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