Your Period-Tracking App Was Just Linked with a Higher Risk of Unwanted Pregnancy

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fertily apps dont work Your Period Tracking App Was Just Linked with a Higher Risk of Unwanted Pregnancy

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I’m definitely guilty of relying too heavily on technology to run my life‚ÄďI use Handy to¬†keep my apartment clean, order groceries through an app, wear activewear that counts calories, and organize my schedule on my smartphone. And, like millions of other women, I’m also a big fan of fertility-tracking apps.

There are dozens of period trackers available on the iTunes and Google Play store right now that promise to¬†help you understand your body better if you’re trying to get¬†pregnant‚ÄĒor do¬†not¬†want to get¬†pregnant, depending on what your goal is right now. They’ll tell which days you’re most and least fertile, and some even offer time-sensitive suggestions for dealing with PMS.¬†However, you (and I!) might want to pause before handing over something as important as your¬†fertility to a free¬†application, because a new study from Georgetown University Medical Center has found that women who rely on smartphone apps to monitor their fertility levels are at a higher risk of unwanted pregnancy. Yikes.

MORE: Can Adjusting Your Diet Get Rid of Your PMS?

Specifically, researchers explained that while fertility apps are increasingly popular among natural-health obsessives, many¬†don’t actually use “evidence-based methodology” to keep you informed.¬†‚ÄúSmartphone apps are increasing in popularity because more and more women are interested in using natural or fertility-awareness-based methods of family planning because they want to feel empowered with greater knowledge of their bodies,‚ÄĚ added¬†lead author Dr. Marguerite Duane.

The researchers evaluated 40 apps¬†with¬†a rating system based on criteria used by Family Practice Management. Each app was scored¬†on a five-point scale for 10 areas that were individually¬†weighted based on¬†how important they are for avoiding unwanted pregnancy. Just¬†six apps¬†either received a perfect score on accuracy¬†or¬†didn’t incorrectly classify fertile days as infertile.

If, despite this study, you do want to continue using your smartphone tracker, the researchers suggest getting some expert advice about learning¬†to read your body first‚ÄĒfrom a doctor, not the internet. “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,” suggests¬†Dr. Duane. You can read the full study online to find out more.

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