Is This the Fitbit for Fertility?
If you’ve ever had trouble getting pregnant and resorted to taking your basal temperature every morning and/or checking your lady bits for anything of the eggwhite variety and/or peeing on OPK sticks (hand raised high), you know that while it’s not rocket science to do and track, it’s not exactly fun.
In fact, for me, it was stressful. And I spent a lot of time worrying about how the glass of red wine I had the night before impacted my temp or how getting up an hour earlier than normal for a workout or a flight messed up my chart. And, really, was my cervix at a slightly different angle or more open — or was I just imagining it? Was that OPK stick getting darker? Maybe I should test again this afternoon? But, I’m so hydrated! Maybe my pee is just too diluted?
Tracking your fertility is simple. But there are so many variables to consider. And, for me, so many thoughts. So many things to obsess about.
Which is exactly why Ava, a fertility tracking bracelet, got my attention. It “uses sensor technology to measure not just temperature, but nine different physiological parameters associated with the rise in hormones estradiol and progesterone, which enables detection of a woman’s fertile window in real-time, allowing for more accurate predictions with minimal user involvement.” Sign me up.
Ava sent me a bracelet to review and it was totes easy to set up. The company touts the bracelet as the Fitbit of fertility, but I have to say, it’s easier to set up than even a Fitbit (and I think the Fitbit is pretty intuitive). It collects A LOT of data, too. We’re talking pulse rate, breathing rate, sleep quality, movement, heart rate variability (the new science on this for fertility is awesome), skin temperature, heat loss, perfusion and bioimpedance. And you don’t have to wear it all day — just at night.
You set up a basic profile with your goals and last period date, and then get to collecting data each night. Each morning, you connect the bracelet with an app on your phone via Bluetooth to sync the data. The app then predicts a full five days of “peak fertility” for you to get busy during. Which is awesome! It’s all so cut and dry and simple — there’s very little user error here. So I can see how a lot of people could benefit from it (especially since OPK strips only give you a window of, like, 12 to 24 hours). And, although I’ve seen women online balk at the $199 price tag, for anyone who’s been trying for awhile, that’s kind of peanuts compared to doctor’s visits and drugs and bulk ordering OPK strips.
That said, there are a few things I didn’t love about it. None of them are deal-breakers, but definitely good to be aware of if you’re considering getting one. First, syncing sometimes took a few minutes and used a lot of battery on my iPhone. Granted, sometimes my phone SUCKS, so maybe it’s just mine. But, I wasn’t expecting the upload to take longer than it takes me to make a green smoothie, ya know?
Second, the app itself is pretty easy to use, but it doesn’t actually show you ALL of the data on the daily. It gives you your resting pulse, skin temp and your heart rate variability ratio each day, but you only get sleep as a weekly average. And you don’t ever see sleep quality and movement. No doubt the tech is using that to predict your fertile days, but I’d be curious to see it.
Third, while the device is good for regular and irregular cycles (yay!), it’s best for women with cycles lasting 24 to 35 days. And, if you’re undergoing fertility treatments, it may not give you accurate results. (Which totally sucks — a lot of times these are the women who are looking for answers.)
Then there’s the actual device. I found the bracelet to be hard to get a great fit on. I don’t know if it’s my wrists or what, but one notch was too tight and the next one down was so loose that the sensor would shoot a green light out randomly into the dark bedroom. (Which really freaked my husband out the first time it happened.)
Lastly, the logo. I may just have the maturity of a 12 year old (totally) or be “Fit Bottomed” obsessed (definitely), but the shape of the logo looks like a butt to me. I know it’s supposed to be two people coming together, but all I see is a butt. A nice butt. But still a butt.
That all said, the science on all of this is cool. Like, really, really cool. And it is a MILLION times better than those “fertility tracking” apps that just assume you have a 28-day cycle and ovulate on day 14. And, really and truly, I’m excited to see where technology like this can take us in the future.
Have you tried Ava or another fertility tracking device? What did you think? —Jenn