Why You Should Think Twice Before Using a Fertility App
Smartphone apps generally make all of our lives a little easier, right? They can help you save money while encouraging you to shop (where do we sign up?), do your laundry and even calm your anxiety. And many women also use their smartphones to track and plan a very, very important part of life: pregnancy. But can you trust these apps when you’re trying to get pregnant… or trying not to get pregnant? A new study of almost 100 smartphone fertility apps says — for the most part — absolutely not.
Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center found that most of the apps they studied didn’t actually use evidence-based, scientific methods for predicting fertility. Yikes. They studied 95 apps, and found that 55 of those didn’t actually claim to use evidence-based methods (hey, at least they’re not lying to you?).
Then the researchers tested the remaining 40 apps and found that of those, only six had perfect scores in terms of accurately predicting fertility days. Those apps were Ovulation Mentor, Sympto, iCycleBeads, LilyPro, Lady Cycle and MyNFP.
The researchers warn specifically against using many of these apps to avoid pregnancy. “Smartphone apps are increasing in popularity because more and more women are interested in using natural or fertility awareness-based methods of family planning… They want to feel empowered with greater knowledge of their bodies,” says Marguerite Duane, a family physician who led the study. But the smartphone method gets more than a little risky when the apps you’re using aren’t actually based on science.
The bottom line: “When learning how to track your fertility signs, we recommend that women first receive instruction from a trained educator and then look for an app that scored four or more on mean accuracy and authority in our review (note: the six apps listed above),” says Marguerite.
To see the full list of apps ranked in the study, take a look at this chart.
Do you use fertility apps? Tweet us about your experience @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)