Periods, Pregnancy And Pelvic Floors Can Now All Be Monitored Using Tech — But How Effective Are These Apps?


NOT long ago, apps were all about addictive games and poking friends. But fast-forward a few years and we’re no longer just using them to plan a safe flight path for an animated Angry Bird. Now we’re also using them to plan a pregnancy, check our breasts and improve our pelvic floors.

There’s endless tech aimed at women wanting to improve wellness and manage medical conditions – and collectively it’s known as “femtech”. The term was coined by Ida Tin, CEO of female health app Clue, in 2016 to describe the ever-expanding category of female-focused apps. More and more women are turning to technology for their health and wellbeing needs

And as women are 75% more likely to use digital tools for healthcare than men, it’s predicted that the industry will be worth over £37billion by 2025.

But can tech be a substitute for a health professional? We explore the top offerings to find out which are worth the iPhone storage.

For tracking cycles, fertility and pregnancy

Whether you’re with child, planning a pregnancy or simply wanting to ensure you’re prepared when P-day arrives, there’s tech to help. And with period-tracking apps alone receiving more than 200 million downloads worldwide, they’re clearly a popular choice. “Period-tracking apps can be beneficial in helping you understand your cycle and become better acquainted with your body,” says NHS gynaecologist Anita Mitra.

“Plus, many enable you to input extra information that will help you get to know your cycle even better, such as pain levels, changes in mood and spotting.”

Alamy Period tracking apps can help you better understand your cycle

She recommends free app Clue. “It helps you track your period and is also a great resource for your health. It even allows you to share information about your menstrual cycle with your friends and partner, which could be helpful when planning a holiday, for example,” she adds.

While downloading an app to log and monitor menstrual data seems like a good idea, can tech actually enhance your chances of conceiving? Bekki Burbidge, deputy chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, regularly receives enquiries on the topic. “These apps work by tracking your cycle and temperature to predict which days you’re fertile,” she explains.

Alamy Some apps can allow you to see when you’re most likely to conceive

Kindara, a free app that provides fertility awareness, allows you to chart your cycle to see when you’re most likely to conceive, while the Ava Fertility Tracker bracelet, £249, collects data while you sleep to detect your “fertile window”.

But Bekki advises a note of caution: “While these apps may help you get to know your body, they may not always get everything right. Learning to monitor other fertility indicators, such as your cervical mucus, is more effective than just recording the dates of your cycle.”

Already pregnant? The free app Glow Nurture provides expert tips and maternity advice, plus lets you monitor breastfeeding.

For contraception

From the Pill to condoms to implants, there’s never been so much choice when it comes to contraception. And now there’s even an app for it. Natural Cycles, £39.99 per year, is the first – and only – app certified in Europe for birth control, and the company claims it has over 700,000 users worldwide. But not everyone’s a fan. “It operates in a similar way to the rhythm method [whereby intercourse is avoided during ovulation], but isn’t suitable for women who wish to have very reliable birth control,” says Meg Wilson, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at London Gynaecology.

While no contraception is 100% effective, the Natural Cycles app has a 93% typical use efficacy rate, rising to 99% if used perfectly. It also requires high commitment, as you need to take your temperature every day at the same time – which can leave room for human error.

Alamy Could apps be the next best thing to the contraceptive pill?

“The high drop-out rate (34% during one study) also suggests it’s not always practical,” adds Anita. “Some women find it frustrating as it isn’t able to predict their cycle, and therefore doesn’t give them any ‘safe’ days. There have also been reports of unwanted pregnancies in women using the app.”

Indeed, Natural Cycles was reported to the Swedish authorities earlier this year after 37 users were forced to seek terminations.

Understandably, Bekki advises treading with caution, as forgetting to input or double-check your data one day means you could find yourself pregnant. “On top of this, travel, alcohol, stress and lack of sleep can all affect temperature readings,” she adds. If you’re still eager to try it, we recommend first talking it through with an expert at

If you’d rather stick to more traditional methods, the free myPill Birth Control Reminder app will remind you to take or replace your contraception, while discreetly delivers condoms to your door.

For your pelvic floor

A new study has revealed that 62% of women in the UK have experienced vaginal or pelvic floor problems, the latter of which can be caused by anything from childbirth to obesity and chronic coughing and sneezing. Sufferers can experience symptoms such as urinary incontinence, reduced sensation and even tampons falling out. The treatment? Kegels (AKA pelvic floor exercises).

Getty – Contributor Apps can guide you through a variety of pelvic floor exercises

“There are a number of apps that guide you through pelvic floor exercises,” says Dr Preethi Daniel, medical director at London Doctors Clinic. “They send you reminders throughout the day, and time you while you complete the exercises.”

Try the free Kegel Trainer PFM Exercises app for easy-to-follow sessions of no more than three minutes long that can be performed completely discreetly while on the go.

“You can even buy products for use inside the vagina that give bio feedback via an app about muscle contractions in the pelvis,” Dr Daniel says.

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