For at least the last five years, and probably longer, Alexandra and I have used an unbelievably inefficient system for tracking our fertility: We send each other text messages when our cycles start. That way, our fuzzy logic goes, we a) Always know how the other person is feeling; b) Can see if we’re still in sync, even though we’re on opposite coasts; and, most important, c) Have a dated record of our last period, lest we forget, which we always do.* It’s a ridiculous system. But until recently, it suited us both just fine.
Then Alexandra discovered the greatest app ever created: It’s called iPeriod, it’s free, and it’s amazing. Here’s why:
It’s an idiot-proof way to track not just your period and/or spotting, but also your mood, your skin, your cramps, your stress level, your sex life, and when you’re ovulating, which is important if you aren’t keen on getting pregnant right now. The app also predicts, with startling accuracy, the date of your next cycle, even if you’re irregular. What more could you want?
There’s also a note-taking section, which I find particularly useful. If you use it as a sort of shorthand diary, you may be able to detect patterns in your own life that sync up with your cycle. For instance, maybe your sleep get better when progesterone spikes, or maybe your skin freaks out right before your cycle, or maybe, just maybe, you have a tendency to pick big stupid fights with your partner in the days leading up to ovulation. This can all be very useful information!
We’ve spoken before about different methods of birth control on the site, and you guys almost broke our commenting record with all your thoughts. And so for those of you who aren’t on the pill, who are interested in tracking their own cycle, we cannot recommend this app highly enough. Of course you still need to use common sense: Having condomless sex if you are anywhere near ovulation is a terrible idea! And you should still educate yourself on the basics. For reasons that are beyond me, this stuff isn’t taught—or at least not taught properly—to young women, which is why it’s hardly surprising that so many women I know think ovulation happens two weeks after their period ends. Not so! In any case, this isn’t sex ed class, and everyone has to take responsibility for their own stuff, but this app takes out a lot of the guesswork.
How do you keep track of your cycle?