Diocesan News

Study: know your NFP apps

By S.L. Hansen 

(SNR) - Because Natural Family Planning is a data collection system, mobile apps are a sensible way to store and refer to monthly charts. These days, there are so many NFP apps available, it’s hard to know which to depend on.

Fortunately, the Fertility Appreciative Collaborative to Teach the Science (FACTS) did a thorough study, led by their founding physician, Marguerite Duane, M.D., M.H.A., F.A.A.F.P., and their director of programs, Alison Contreras, Ph.D., F.C.P.

The FACTS team of six physicians and several other experts found that out of 95 available apps in 2016, 55 either were not based on fertility awareness-based methods or only focused on achieving pregnancy. The remaining 40 apps were evaluated using a method adapted from the one that the Family Practice Management Journal uses to rate medical apps.

Apps were examined for effectiveness, accuracy, and user-friendliness, then rated on a five-point scale. Twelve volunteers input their NFP data into various apps while keeping their paper charts, comparing the app’s prediction for their fertile window and their own charting. The study also looked at adaptability to the various NFP systems, ease of use and cost.

While it is best to learn NFP from a certified, trained instructor, these apps can be useful for ongoing charting.

The following six apps were highly recommended by the physicians who conducted the study: Billings Mentor (previously named Ovulation Mentor), Sympto.org, iCycleBeads (only recommended for women with very consistent cycles), LilyPro, Lady Cycle and mfNFP.net. Lady Cycle is only available for Androids; iCycleBeads and LilyPro are only available for iOS devices, and but the others have multiple versions.

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