In light of the Supreme Court ruling to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, women across the United States have deleted their period tracking programs, fearing it could be used against them should they live in one of the states that banned abortion. If you’ve concerned about the security of your personal data on period applications, we’ve talked to a cybersecurity expert here. You will also want to see our guide on how to turn off location tracking on your smartphone.
But how complicated is it to track your period without using an application? And how easy is it to work out your most fertile days? To find out more, we spoke with Dr. Michael Belmonte, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Colorado and a fellow Physician for Reproductive Health.
Do you need to delete your period application?
“It’s important to protect your data now more than ever,” explains Dr. Belmonte. “When it comes to period tracking, the way each application handles your data differs, so it’s important to be aware before using each application. Review the data security and privacy policies of some of the most popular applications; they vary by application who can sell our data to outside companies, review the data for internal purposes, and for most they do have a clause where if law enforcement requests the data, they will comply with those requests (while some say they will not comply) is it is difficult to know with certainty what would happen if law enforcement requests were actually made).
“Finally, there are some applications that have recently logged in to go a step further and plan to allow anonymous use of an application so that they will not have a record that can link your personal information directly to you. ; but, as mentioned before, if the period tracker application stays on your phone or in your cloud data, it can also possibly be obtained by law enforcement if they gain access to your phone.It’s for this reason that I would recommend getting away stay away from these applications as the best way to protect your private health information and data. ”
How to track your time on a calendar – quick tips
- Mark the dates of your last period – the day your period started is day one of your cycle
- Count how long your cycle typically lasts, it should be about 26-32 days
- Days 8-19 are the most fertile. If you are not trying to conceive, you should use protection during this time of the month.
How can you track your period without using any technology?
If you do make the decision to delete your period application completely, it is still important to track your periods, whether you are trying to conceive or not. Unless you are on birth control and therefore do not have menstruation, the benefits of menstruation are tracking that you may notice missed menstruation or unexpected changes to your cycle, and consult your doctor well in advance if you have any concerns.
Fortunately, it is much easier to track your cycle without technology than it sounds. “The simplest way to do this is through pen and paper with a calendar,” says Dr. Belmonte. “From that, you can keep track of your last period, days of bleeding, and (if you have predictable, regular cycles between 26) -32 days) help you anticipate when to expect your next period.”
How to work out your fertile days
Whether you are trying to conceive, or trying not to get pregnant, it is important to work out which days of the month you are fertile. If you are not trying to get pregnant, recommends dr. Call to use some form of family planning during your fertile days. “Based on the lifespan of sperm and an unfertilized egg, your fertile days will usually be anywhere from five days before ovulation (or when the egg is released from the ovary) to one day thereafter.”
Belmonte would like to point out that the methods outlined below are for people who have regular, predictable periods, without any spots between periods. Young people, older women approaching menopause, and women who have just given birth, had a miscarriage, or had an abortion may need to look for other methods to recognize fertile signs. Women who have recently stopped using hormonal birth control, or who are taking other medications, also fall into this category.
“Standard Days method regards the most fertile days as 8-19 of the cycle with day one as the first day of your period. It requires your cycles to be in between 26 and 32 days. ” If you keep track of your periods in your diary, some women these days put a cross or a circle to remember them.
There are also physical signs that you are in this fertile window, explains dr. Belmonte. “Cervical mucus methods require that you can distinguish between changes in your mucus, such as quantity and thickness. Before ovulation, mucus tends to be thin and smooth and increase in volume, while mucus thickens after ovulation and decreases in volume. Therefore, you should avoid intercourse or use another method of birth control as soon as you notice any cervical mucus; but it can be confusing for people who use feminine hygiene products, breastfeed, use lubricants or have unprotected intercourse. One method is called the TwoDay method, where you check your mucus at least twice a day, and if you noticed mucus yesterday or today, you are probably fertile. Pregnancy is less likely after two days in a row without noticing cervical mucus.
“If you are interested in using one of these methods, it may be helpful to seek formal training or advice from a reproductive health care professional, to ensure that you understand all the nuances and to see if you have a will be a good candidate, “said dr. Belmonte adds.
But what about those women who do not have regular cycles? “For those who have cycles that do not follow a predictable pattern, this method or even the period tracking applications will not be useful, as algorithms are not advanced enough to take this into account. Having cycle data over three months will be the most useful to enable you to predict what will happen in future months, ”adds dr. Belmonte by.
“Although your cycle does not have to be exactly the same number of days each month to predict fertile days, it may require you to expand the window of potential fertile days to avoid any problems. But if your cycles do not follow a predictable pattern, it can be very difficult to determine your fertile days and period tracking will probably not be helpful, “says Dr Belmonte.
What about tracking your temperature?
“Basal body temperature monitoring in itself is not a great way to detect fertile days or prevent pregnancy, “warns Dr. Belmonte.” This is because your most fertile days will occur 2-3 days in advance you see an increased body temperature, which occurs during ovulation. “
“This method is also very strict in that your temperature has to be taken every morning just after you wake up, but before you get out of bed, do any activity, or even just eat or drink something. It can also be thrown away by other things that can mimic a rise in body temperature, such as various medical conditions or acute illnesses, such as a cold, flu or even COVID.
“The use of basal body temperature in combination with other factors, such as cervical mucus and / or a hormonal fertility monitor, may be more reliable,” says Dr Belmonte.
If you have any questions about your cycle, family planning, or trying to conceive, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor.