Millions of women around the country use period-tracking apps each month for various reasons. Two of the most popular apps — Clue and Glow — allow users to not only log when their cycle begins and ends, but also to monitor their moods, cravings, sexual activity, medication, and even … um … bowel movements. The more data shared, the “smarter” the app gets at predicting fertile days, stress levels, and more, which is helpful whether she’s trying to get pregnant, avoid it, or just understand her body better. (Whether it’s a good idea to share your most intimate health details with companies is a conversation worth having, but that’s for another time.)
When to Show Up With Pizza
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is tricky: Some researchers suggest it’s a cultural myth perpetuated by the idea of the hysterical woman; a small percentage of women have debilitating symptoms while others experience none. But it generally refers to the emotional and physical symptoms due to dipping hormone levels many women notice in the days after ovulation and before menstruation.
Food cravings tend to play a big role in PMS, and carbs are especially popular because they increase serotonin levels. Find out what her Postmates order is and you’ll win major points.
While your partner might be more emotional or sensitive when she’s PMSing, the quickest way to start a fight is to discount whatever she’s upset about with “you must be getting your period.” You will never, ever, ever win that one. Instead, listen to what she’s upset over and do what you can to reduce her stress levels.
In other words: This is not the week to take her co-worker’s side in the office fridge dispute or bring up that mistake she made on her taxes.
When to Plan a Romantic Getaway
The longer she’s been tracking her periods, the clearer the pattern becomes, which is especially helpful if you’re trying to plan a vacation or future activity. No one wants to walk the length of Rome with cramps, sleep at a plumbing-free campground on their heaviest day, or swim with sharks while wearing a tampon. You anticipating those things ahead of time will make you the Best Boyfriend of the Year.
When to Put Down Darker Sheets
The first two days of her period are the heaviest, so if you’re down for sex during that time, make sure to change out your brand new white sheets for something that’ll hide potential stains. It’s a good idea to have a darker set of sheets for this; it’s a bad idea to put down the old towel you use to dry your dog.
When to Try — or Avoid — Getting Pregnant
It’s crucial to pay attention to the fertile window — or day of ovulation and the five days preceding it — of anyone you’re exclusively sexually active with so you can try for pregnancy or take extra precautions to avoid it during those days. It’s not an exact science, but if your partner has been plugging in her cycle details reliably for months, the app can offer a close prediction as to when the fertile window begins and ends.
A woman’s period is a normal, natural part of her life, so as her partner, it only makes sense to be aware and open to the role it plays in your life as well.