Are You Making These Mistakes Tracking Your Fertility?

Eloise Edington  |   12 Apr 2022

When trying to conceive, tracking your body temperature and hormones seems simple enough but there are common mistakes women make when tracking and charting their fertility.

Last week, we asked our FHH community (download the free app here):

  • Do you track your fertility?
  • What do you want to know about tracking fertility?
  • Are you interested in expert tips for charting ovulation and fertility?

Over 90% of our Instagram community tracks their fertility and 80% want expert tracking tips. Today, the team at Ava Fertility answers your questions about how to track fertility and shares top tips and expert advice on tracking fertility for conception.

The Ava Fertility tracker bracelet is the first and only FDA-cleared wearable fertility tracker. It monitors ovulation to identify your five most fertile days – doubling your chances of conception. Worn overnight, the bracelet tracks physiological markers of fertility while you sleep and the following morning, you can sync your bracelet with the app to receive instant results about your fertile window.

Read on to learn common mistakes when tracking fertility and expert tips on how to avoid them. FHH readers can also benefit from an exclusive discount of 20 USD on the Ava Fertility tracker bracelet. Keep reading to discover the code.

Common Mistake 1 – Not knowing how to track fertility

If you’re wondering how to track your fertility, you need to know when your fertile window is. The fertile window of the menstrual cycle is six days long; it’s the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself.

The only way to get pregnant is to have sex during this six-day window. Sounds easy, but the problem is that the fertile window is defined by an event that happens in the future, and you can’t know with absolute certainty when ovulation will occur.

So tracking fertility is all about looking for signs that your body is preparing to ovulate soon, and then looking for signs to confirm that ovulation occurred. About five days before ovulation, estrogen levels begin to rise, a day or two before ovulation, luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, and after ovulation, progesterone levels rise.

Expert tips: The best methods for tracking fertility

The best ways to track fertility are based on the impacts of particular hormones on your body.

  • Estrogen: increased estrogen causes the water content of your cervical mucus to increase. In the days leading up to ovulation, you should notice your mucus becoming sticky, then creamy, then clear, stretchy, and slippery. This last type of mucus is the most fertile kind.
  • LH: You can use LH urine tests to detect the presence of LH in urine. LH tests tell you that ovulation may be imminent, but you should think of them as the beginning of the end of your fertile window. Many women are very fertile in the days before the LH test is positive.
  • Progesterone: After ovulation, progesterone is released, which causes your body temperature to increase. Tracking your temperature is a good way to confirm that ovulation occurred after the fact, but it won’t help you identify your fertile days at the moment. That’s because once your body’s temperature increases, your fertile window is already over.

How the Ava Fertility Tracker can help

There are six days per month when it’s possible to get pregnant, and Ava Fertility is clinically proven to identify five of them.

But how does the Ava tracker work?

It’s simple: You wear Ava to bed. During the night while you sleep, the Ava sensor bracelet collects continuous data about physiological signals that act as markers for your fluctuating hormone levels. In the morning, sync your bracelet to the app to instantly see your results. This allows it to detect – not simply predict – which phase of the menstrual cycle you’re in.
Ava Fertility also displays health parameters like temperature, sleep, physiological stress, and resting pulse rate – letting you know when you’re in the best place to make a baby.

FHH readers can benefit from a discount of 20 USD off the Ava Fertility Tracker bracelet when using code FERTILTY20 at checkout here.

Common Mistake 2 – Unintentionally missing your fertile window

When tracking their fertility, many women wonder: what does “fertile” mean on a period tracker?

When your period tracker tells you you’re fertile, you should take it with a big pinch of salt. That’s because period tracker apps are only as good as the data you give them. And since most period trackers only use the dates of your period and no other data from your body, they’re not always accurate.
Period trackers estimate your fertile window based on the calendar method, which assumes that ovulation occurs 14 days before your next cycle begins. So if you tell the app that your average cycle length is 30 days, the app will always predict ovulation on day 16.
That may not be a problem for someone who has a perfect 30-day cycle every single month. But for everyone else, an app that bases its predictions on a consistent average will not be accurate. And even for those who usually have perfectly consistent cycles, app predictions still may not be correct. That’s because tracker apps assume a consistent 14 days between ovulation and the next period.
But this length of time – called the luteal phase – can vary between 10 (or fewer) to 16 days. If you have an 11-day luteal phase but your tracking app assumes 14 days, your fertility prediction will be off by three days. That may not seem like a big deal, but when you’re trying to get pregnant, it might mean missing your entire peak fertility window.

Expert tips: How to track fertility when you have irregular periods

Tracking fertility can be a little harder with irregular periods, but it’s still possible. A few things to keep in mind:
  • Stay away from period tracker apps, which don’t provide accurate predictions for women with irregular cycles.
  • If your irregular cycles are caused by PCOS, LH urine tests may not always be accurate for you. In a woman with regular cycles, LH surges a day or two before ovulation. But in a woman with PCOS, LH levels may be chronically elevated. A woman with PCOS will still experience an LH surge before ovulation, but she may have a lot of “false alarm” LH surges which reduces the predictive value of these tests.
  • Similar to above, women with PCOS sometimes have chronically elevated estrogen levels, which can cause fertile-seeming cervical mucus to appear throughout the cycle—not only in the days just before ovulation.
When you observe fertile cervical mucus or a positive LH test, you should assume that you might be fertile, but you can only confirm that these days were actually fertile once you know that you’ve ovulated. This is also true for women with regular cycles, it’s just that in regular cycles, signs of fertility are usually followed quite predictably by ovulation.

How the Ava Fertility Tracker can help

While you sleep, Ava Fertility tracks your fluctuating hormone levels, detecting which phase of the menstrual cycle you’re in, for cycles between 24 – 35 days.

Common Mistake 3 – Taking an inaccurate measure of your basal body temperature

How do you take an accurate bbt?

You can take basal body temperature with a thermometer or a wearable. Both are good methods for confirming ovulation.
To take BBT accurately with a thermometer, make sure you are using a specialized thermometer that’s sensitive enough to detect the small shift in temperature that occurs after ovulation. Look for any thermometer that’s rated for fertility tracking, or that measures two decimal places.

You may also choose to track your temperature with a wearable fertility monitor, like the Ava bracelet.

Claim an exclusive discount of 20 USD off the Ava Fertility Tracker bracelet with code FERTILTY20 at checkout here.

Expert tip: Be consistent in when you take your bbt

You should take your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed or talk. It’s important to try to take your temperature around the same time each morning because your temperature increases throughout the morning.

How the Ava Fertility Tracker can help

As Ava tracks temperature continuously throughout the night, it’s more sensitive than taking oral temperature for detecting ovulation. This means that Ava is able to correctly identify more temperature shifts related to ovulation compared to what oral temperature is able to identify.

Common Mistake 4 – Not seeing a pattern when tracking

If you can’t see a pattern when you’re tracking, it means one of three things:

  1. You don’t know how to read the signs of fertility that your body is giving you. They can be subtle, and there’s a learning curve. Keep at it!
  2. You haven’t reached the fertile part of your cycle yet, so there’s nothing to see. It’s really only during the fertile window that you should expect to see anything different from your norm. The rest of the time, there’s not much to see.
  3. You’re not ovulating. If you are having anovulatory cycles or amenorrhea, you shouldn’t expect to see any signs of fertility and you might consider speaking with a fertility specialist to help you get pregnant.

Expert tip

Use a tracker that’s specifically designed for fertility tracking and sensitive enough to detect the subtle changes in your body that indicate your fertile window.

How the Ava Fertility Tracker can help

If you’re struggling to track your fertility and can’t see any patterns, try the Ava bracelet before considering fertility treatment. Nearly 30% of sub-fertile women report a pregnancy within a year of using Ava Fertility*.

Chart your fertile window with accuracy and confidence by being aware of these common mistakes when tracking fertility and knowing how to avoid them.

Fertility Help Hub readers can benefit from an exclusive discount of 20 USD off the Ava Fertility Tracker bracelet with code FERTILITY20.

Click here to order your Ava Fertility tracker today.

*”Sub-fertile” was defined as self-reporting trying to get pregnant for more than a year (or more than six months if over the age of 35) at the time of onboarding. B. GOODALE, M. ROTHENBÜHLER, M. CRONIN. Self-reported pregnancy rate among clinically subfertile women using a wearable fertility tracker. Poster presented at: ACOG Annual Clinical and Scientific Meeting; April 30 – May 2, 2021; Virtual.

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