The Rough Guide to Bedsider in Mobile-land
I upgraded from the pill to a more effective method a while ago, but I decided not to let that stop me from enjoying Bedsider’s offerings—especially their “cheeky” text message birth control reminders. In case you haven’t had the pleasure of exploring Bedsider’s mobile side, allow me to show (screen-cap-style) and tell you a little about it.
You can set up a birth control or appointment reminder using only your phone.
1) Text ‘MYBC’ to Bedsider’s short code, 42411.
2) Bedsider will text back and ask if you want to set up reminders, find clinics, find EC, or learn about birth control.
3) If you select ‘set up a reminder,’ you’ll get a text asking what kind of reminder you want to set up—birth control or appointment.
If you choose birth control, you’ll get another message asking what method you use (the ring, the pill, the patch, or the shot). If you choose appointment, you’ll be asked to send the date of your appointment.
4) Next you’ll be asked a few questions about what time you want your reminder. If it’s an appointment reminder, you’ll get to decide how long before your appointment you want to be reminded.
5) Enjoy your confirmation text and wait for your reminder(s).
Q: What if I’m away from my birth control when my reminder arrives?
A: If you’re busy or don’t have your birth control handy when you get your reminder, no problem. Just text back ‘snooze’ and Bedsider will text you back in an hour—or you can text ‘snooze _h’ and they’ll wait the number of hours you specify before the ‘h’ to remind you again. So, for example, if you want to be reminded again in 3 hours you should text ‘snooze 3h.’
Q: What if I’m not into the racy messages?
A: If you want to opt out of the “cheeky” messages and sign up for more discreet reminders, you’ll have to go online. When I signed up online for my reminder, I was given the choice between messages with fun, sexy facts or the more subtle reminder without your method or the phrase ‘birth control.’ I opted for the racy ones, but it’s good to know that Bedsider is just as useful on the DL.
Q: What if I prefer e-mail to text?
A: If you’re the e-mail type like me, you can also sign up for e-mail reminders to take your pill, change your patch or ring, get your shot, or go to an appointment. Like the texts, if you sign up online, you can opt for a discreet e-mail instead of the cheeky message.
Bedsider has a birth control information line (and it’s free).
Bedsider wanted to make their birth control info available for folks without an internet connection or a smart phone, so they set up a free, automated phone service. Give it a ring anytime day or night to learn about some of the most common birth control methods in English or Spanish—the number is (888)321-0383. Of course there’s more detail on bedsider.org, but the phone service offerings are easy to understand and pretty comprehensive.
Bedsider can help you find birth control or emergency contraception (EC) via text message.
When you text ‘MYBC’ to 42411, you’ll have the option to find clinics or EC. All you need is your zip code to get nearby clinic locations and contact info texted to your phone.
And there’s more (especially if you have a smart phone).
Q: Can I read Bedsider’s articles on my phone?
A: If you’re not a smart phone user, you can sign up to get a text message with a teaser and link for Frisky Fridays (weekly) or Provider Perspectives (monthly), but will have to go online to read the full articles.
Smart phone users can read Frisky Fridays and Provider Perspectives on their phone. Smart phone users can also see information about all the birth control methods and access Bedsider’s ‘free birth control finder,’ though they too will have to go online to access news articles, Fact or Fiction videos, questions, and other content.
Q: Does Bedsider have any apps?
A: Glad you asked! If you have an iPhone and want to practice your condom skills, download CondomPro for free. It gives you tips for putting on a condom correctly and I’ve also heard it’s a pretty good distraction during a boring class or meeting. If you try it out, write a review on iTunes.
And…a little bird told me that Bedsider will soon be coming out with a sexy new app that allows folks to anonymously log their intimate adventures, be they flirtations or long-term relationships, awkward, boring, or amazing. Keep an eye out!
Q: Okay—now what?
Basically, Bedsider is on the go as much as we are—and since you never know where you’ll be when you need it, that’s definitely a good thing.
Catherine Rivera is an intern for Bedsider. When she’s not counseling, teaching, researching or writing about sex and relationships, this Stanford University student can be found passing out condoms to her fellow students, mentoring middle school girls, indulging her sweet tooth , reading the news, or attempting to get inside the heads of her four younger brothers. Catherine doesn’t have a personal tumblr (yet), but you can follow her on twitter @cmrivera2013.
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