With a period app, you can track everything from when to expect your next period to the symptoms you are likely to experience during it. Here’s what you need to know if you’re using a period app to prevent pregnancy from occurring.
What are the chances of getting pregnant during each part of my cycle?
Your chance of actually getting pregnant changes depending on where you are in your cycle. Using a period app has helped many women better understand when those different stages are occurring:
Menstruation is the monthly shedding of the inner membrane of the uterus, and this phase of the cycle typically lasts between 3 and 7 days. About halfway through your period, the ovaries are preparing for an egg to release. It’s very unlikely that sperm will have anything to fertilize as the egg has not yet released, so the chance of becoming pregnant while on your period is minuscule. However, sperm can survive for up to 5 days, meaning if you have intercourse 2 days after a 7-day period, there is a chance for pregnancy.
Pre-ovulation is the phase that occurs immediately following your period. During this time, you’ll notice vaginal discharge, and soon it will turn white and milky. This indicates that the egg is close to releasing and it provides an inviting environment for sperm, so your chance of getting pregnant is good.
Ovulation typically begins 14 days before your next scheduled period, no matter how long yours lasts. When you notice vaginal discharge with the consistency of egg whites, you’re ovulating. Ovulation lasts no longer than 36 hours and the chance of getting pregnant during this time is quite high.
This final phase of your cycle can last between 12 and 16 days. You won’t notice any more discharge, which signals that the egg has already been released, so your chance of getting pregnant is quite low during this time.
What are some potential obstacles I should be aware of?
If you have an irregular period, your time of fertility one month could be different than it is the next month. This kind of irregularity make predicting fertility inexact, and so the likelihood of pregnancy increases.
Light spotting, which is defined as bleeding that occurs at a time other than your period, can sometimes be mistaken for your period. This can throw off your fertility calculations and increase your chance of pregnancy.
Can my period app be used as birth control?
While a period app could be helpful for natural family planning, it’s also important to know the signs of each cycle. It can take a while for a period app to collect enough data about you and your body before its predicting capability is more accurate. Natural family planning uses the way your body naturally functions to prevent pregnancy. It helps you to be aware of your natural window of fertility, during which time you can either abstain or use the barrier method of birth control. Taking the time to research natural family planning and understand how your cycle works increases the accuracy of this birth control method.
Does the period app method work for any couple?
This form of birth control is best for couples who are in long-term, monogamous relationships. That’s because these couples are better able to plan their intimacy. Sex outside of this kind of relationship is more difficult to plan, and it increases the risk of contracting STIs.
I had sex while I was fertile – what do I do now?
If you had sex during a fertile time of your cycle, you’ll need to wait and see if you miss a period to take a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests reach their highest percentage of accuracy during this time, so if you take a pregnancy test before then, you might get a false result.
If you think you might be pregnant, schedule a no-cost pregnancy testing appointment at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic. Our clinic provides a number of no-cost and confidential services to women who think they might be unexpectedly pregnant.