What happens when periods meet modern-day tech? These days, we can get into the nitty gritty of our cycles with the help of our phones. One swipe through the app store and you’ll find period trackers galore – there’s no shortage of health tech that’ll help you digitally take charge of your flow and sexual health.
But what’s the reality of period tracking apps? Are they worth the hype? Are they empowering, or are they a hindrance? Are there free period trackers?
Here’s everything you need to know about the best period tracking apps.
Should I track my period?
Generally speaking, understanding your cycle can help you figure out what’s 'normal' for your body. According to Dr Karen Morton, founder of Dr Morton's medical helpline and consultant gynaecologist, this knowledge and understanding of your body can be helpful when something isn't quite right and when it might be worth consulting a doctor.
There are many benefits to tracking your period with an app, but some important considerations to keep in mind when you do.
Knowledge is power
The more information you have, the better, right? Knowing your physical and emotional patterns, lets you plan your schedule around your PMS, ovulation, and bleed. When you’re tuned into your body, magic happens. You’ll never be caught off guard by pesky cramps, crankiness, fatigue or bleeding again.
Tracking your fertility
Tracking your cycle is especially important and helpful for those trying to get pregnant.
“Anyone trying to get pregnant should be in consultation with their OBGYN to talk about ways to maximise their chances,” advises Dr Robert Setton of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
It’s important to note that even the best period tracking apps are not a form of contraception. So for those who are actively avoiding pregnancy, keep that in mind as you get to know your ovarian cycle.
Listen to your body
If you’ve decided to use a period tracker, remember to keep consciously checking in with your body instead of solely relying on the app.
Lisa Agustines, an OB/GYN at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, warns: "I think it’s wrong to say, well, historically the next 7 days are when I get more irritable, and therefore I’m going to be more irritable."
After all, you’re a unique human being. You’re not merely a bundle of hormones simply PSM-ing, ovulating, or period-ing. So while collecting data you can provide your doctor with (and stay in tune with your cycle) is good, don’t forget to switch off sometimes.
We don't ‘necessarily want (or need) to attribute every passing mood or symptom to our biology,’ says Katie, a journalist at The Cut.
The best period tracking apps
Ready to give the best period tracking apps a crack? We’ve rounded up the best in the biz. Whether you simply want a notification about your upcoming period or you’re after all the juicy details about your cycle, here are some apps we recommend.
1. My Calendar - Period Tracker
My Calendar is a period tracking app that tracks your periods, cycle, ovulation, fertile days, and symptoms. It also includes programming to track irregular periods (we're talking to the 30% of women who experience irregular periods), weight, temperature, moods, and blood flow.
With the ability to hide ovulation, fertility, and intercourse-related data, this period tracker also works perfectly for people who aren't sexually active or have a partner who cannot get them pregnant.
2. Flo - Ovulation Calendar, Period Tracker, and Pregnancy App
With AI-based period, fertility, pregnancy, and ovulation predictions, as well as graphs and medical knowledge based on your log of symptoms and dates, Flo is the midwife and tech-wizard of period apps.
This period tracking app is one of the OG apps, and if you're willing to cash out for Flo Premium, you can even receive personalised insights on your cycle and symptoms. They’ll even throw in a health report for your doctor.
3. Clue - Period and Ovulation Tracker
Clue is commonly known as the most aesthetically-pleasing period tracking app with easy-to-read fonts and chic minimalist design. It’s the period tracking app for people with periods who don't want to see flowers and frills while they’re bleeding. With options to track your mood, skin condition, digestion and energy, Clue also features a discharge tracker to help you determine when you're most fertile.
Clue was rated one of the top free period tracking apps by The Obstetrics & Gynecology Journal, so you’ll be in good hands.
4. My Cycle - Free Ovulation and Period Tracker
If in-app purchases, subscriptions and ads get you fired up, you’ll love the My Cycle app. Completely free and intuitive to use, this free period tracking app supports you to monitor your cycle and take charge of your period.
It allows you to easily monitor the days you bleed and ovulate, and keeps track of important dates, symptoms, and your sex life. It works like a personal journal and will be your BFF if you plan on getting pregnant.
5. Life - Period Tracker Calendar
Life is the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ of period tracking apps. Aptly named, this app helps you keep track of it all. Its free version lets you track your period, predict your ovulation, schedule cycle reminders, and track your symptoms, moods, and more, with options for irregular cycles. If you upgrade to premium, you’ll be able to do all that, plus monitor your weight, nutrition, fitness, sleep, and medication all in the one place.
What are the best free period tracking apps?
While most of the apps we mentioned above feature both a free and paid version, My Cycle is completely free, with no in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ads. With a 4.8 rating on the Apple App Store from over 20k reviews, it is a great option when it comes to tracking your cycle, no deduction to the bank account required.
What are the best apps to track fertility?
Clue Period & Cycle Tracker is known to be one of the best apps overall when it comes to tracking fertility and accuracy. It features an ovulation calculator and fertility predictions to help you on your pregnancy journey.
So, what's the verdict?
No matter how clued-in to your period you might feel, it can always be handy to have the support of a period tracking app. With so many on the market, including many free period trackers, you can find one that suits you.
When your period is coming on, you can prepare by wearing our range of period pants in the days leading up. Throw on a pair for those 'just-in-case' days; we’ve got you covered.