A fertility doctor you probably don’t know tells how to have the “best” intercourse at home utilizing smartphone technology.
Hello Everybody! I wanted to take this space to introduce myself and talk a little bit about fertility awareness and things a couple can do to help themselves at home.
I do want to say at the onset that I couldn’t be happier to work here at Reproductive Science Center (Twitter, Facebook). This practice is truly special. Somehow, someway, we have been able to pull together awesome and caring people who also happen to be ridiculously excellent at their jobs.
We currently have seven physicians who work harmoniously together, and our IVF lab is a BIG source of pride, with success rates well above national averages. I think that almost all our patients can recognize this after their first visit with us.
I also wanted to take this space to talk about timed intercourse and what a couple can do to optimize their chances of conceiving at home. This topic was spurred by a research article that the Associated Press picked up on over the summer that was published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal, which is one of the major journals for the field. It’s entitled, “Evaluation of Smartphone Menstrual Cycle Tracking Applications Using an Adapted APPLICATIONS Scoring System.”
This study was championed by Michelle L. Moglia and led by Dr. Paula M. Castano at Columbia University. Its stated objective was to identify free, smartphone menstrual-cycle tracking applications and evaluate their accuracy, features and functionality. Most of my patients will take out their phones (actually it’s usually already in their hands!) when I ask them if their periods are regular. Moglia et al. found over 1,000 smartphone apps on the iTunes store for evaluation.
After excluding so-called fertility apps with misinformation and other exclusion criteria, they found 20 apps that fit the bill. Twenty fertility apps out of more than 1,000. That’s only 2 percent! Over and over again it’s shown in the field of fertility that it is very, very important to know your sources of information.
The majority of these apps were found to have features the authors deemed desirable, including offline access, password protection and symptom and flow trackers. They noted that only one of the 20 fertility apps reported professional involvement and just one cited medical literature! The paper did list the free fertility apps that they reviewed. At RSC we don’t recommend a specific one but the list in the paper, provided below, is likely a good start.
20 worthwhile (and free) fertility apps
- Clue (BioWink GmbH)
- Day After (Elliptikal, LLC)
- FemCal Lite (Watmough Software)
- Fertility Cycle (74 Monkeys)
- The Flow (Lucia LUKANOVA)
- Free Girl Cal (Dionisie Nagy)
- Glow (Glow)
- Groove (Groove)
- iPeriod Period Tracker Free (Winkpass Creations, INC)
- It’s a Girl Thing (It’s a Girl Thing Sanitary Products)
- Lily (Whimsical Inc)
- Love Cycles Menstrual, Ovulation & Period Tracker (Plackal Tech)
- Menstrual Calendar (witiz)
- Menstrual Period Tracker (EFRAC)
- Mom and Baby to Be (Symetric Productions, Inc)
- Touchable Period Tracker (Coesius Ltd)
- Period Tracker (Sevenlogics, Inc)
- GP Apps (GP Intl)
- Period Tracker, Free Menstrual Calendar (Tamtris Web Services Inc)
- Pink Pad Period & Fertility Tracker Pro (Alt12 Apps, LLC)
Timing intercourse with a fertility app
So, what are the cornerstones of making sure that every month counts? The most important thing is to make sure that you are doing your best to have the egg and sperm meet! This means having intercourse before you ovulate. Womenshealth.gov has a good fact sheet about the menstrual cycle.
With few exceptions, most woman will have ovulated 14 days prior to the first day of their next menstrual period. If your cycles are 28 days long, then 28-14 = cycle day 14 is the day you ovulate. If your cycle is 35 days long, then 35-14 = cycle day 21 is the day you ovulate. This is where the (good) fertility apps come in.
The problem is that this is only really known after the fact. If your cycles aren’t regular, then you can try using ovulation prediction kits or cervical mucus checks. Ovulation prediction kits are found over-the-counter and are similar to urine pregnancy tests, except it is testing for the hormone responsible for ovulation, luteinizing hormone.
Once your kit turns positive, you will be ovulating in the next 24-36 hours. You could also check cervical mucus, which becomes clear, slippery and stretchy at the beginning of your fertile window, which closes 4 days after the peak symptoms of the mucus (reference). A couple should have intercourse every day or every other day starting 5 days prior to anticipated ovulation, or at the start of your cervical mucus changes.
You can’t have intercourse too early, but you can have it too late
Because sperm can survive for days inside the uterus and fallopian tubes, one can’t really have intercourse too early in the middle of a cycle. But it is possible to have intercourse too late. If possible, it’s best to start intercourse before your ovulation kit turns positive, not just once on the day it does.
Taking a step back, I know that this is hard! If you are reading this, it’s likely you have been dealing with fertility issues. And now a doctor you don’t know is telling you the “best” way to have intercourse at home!
There is so much advice and chatter about fertility that it’s hard to sift out what’s useful. This is why I have links to my sources in this article. Just like the first article above illustrated so profoundly, many apps and articles may not be trustworthy or have inaccurate information. Therefore, it is always important to not take everything you read at face value.
Ok, that’s it for now! Please remember to use our website for good solid information and advice to educate yourself and hopefully be able to start your family. Always remember, if you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year and you are under 35 years old, or if it’s been more than 6 months and you are 35 and older, it is advisable to see a doctor.