This is the first in a series on parenting apps – next week we’ll review the best apps to use during pregnancy.
Whether you’re actively trying to get pregnant or actively trying to AVOID pregnancy, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are hundreds. But I’m just going to give you three, one each for your desired level of commitment. I will warn you though, you gotta be OK with living the quantified life for a little while.
Best for: Those who appreciate a pretty face, want a little insight to their cycle, and like to be asked how they’re feeling.
First off, the user interface is fantastic. I think they’re making a point of NOT using the color pink so it stands out in a sea of flowers, hearts, and butterflies. Even better, there was no more than a minute of self-orientation before I was off and logging all the fun numbers. It also has a social aspect with a large and very active community, if you’re the type to seek out a “cycle buddy”.
Daily logging takes no more than 40 seconds (yes, I timed it), and the app spits back all sorts of useful insights to your cycle like the probability of conceiving per day, how your current emotional state can affect conception, and other tidbits.
It also integrates with other apps like Jawbone UP, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, and Apple’s Health, so you can go all the way in digitizing your health.
One downside is that they do ask for a lot of personal information. All of it is optional, but I did get carried away checking little boxes before I paused and thought…female orgasm? Why do you need to know this?
And this isn’t just for getting pregnant the old-fashioned way – there are modes for tracking fertility treatments and avoiding pregnancy.
Best for: Those who think Excel is fun, like to be graded and scored, and want to know every.single.detail about their cycle.
This app is the companion to what is arguably the internet’s oldest and largest fertility charting website. So, as is expected having collected over 17 years of data, their algorithms are on point. All it requires is your input of every minutiae of your body. For real, they are not messing around – get yourself a basal body temp thermometer. Check and report on every nook and cranny of your body. They’ll predict your ovulation, and once all the BD-ing is over, they’ll give you a score on how well you did (LOL).
The biggest downside to FertilityFriend is their interface. She ugly. In a world where everything has been simplified and minimalized down to a few big buttons, this site is a beast. It navigates poorly, takes a while to figure out how and where your information should go, and sometimes you can get lost in a menu tree. In an app. They have pages and PAGES on their own definitions and abbreviations and what shape dot means what on their massive charts.
So why recommend it? Because their data is still the most powerful out there. If you’re serious and need more than pretty checkboxes, then here you go. Also, they have updated their look since the last time I checked in on them (over a year ago) so hopefully there’s some major useability improvements coming.
Best for: Those who think all of the above sounds like way too much work and just want a ballpark estimate on their cycle.
Does all of the above sound ridiculous? Are you shaking your head and thinking, “why don’t you just…do it?”. Then CycleBeads is for you. It’s based off of the natural family planning method of a typical menstrual cycle. You input one thing: the date of your last period. And all it gives you is one thing: your estimated fertile days. That’s it.
There is a big disclaimer that this works best for women who have normal 28-day cycles, give or take 2-4 days. If you start charting periods that fall outside of this normal window, the app will give warning that you should no longer use it for family planning (especially if you’re tracking to avoid pregnancy).
Do you use charting apps for achieving/avoiding pregnancy? I’d love to hear about more! Really.
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