Trying to get pregnant can be more challenging than you might like – there are so many factors that can affect your fertility from medication side effects, environmental issues and health problems like Hyperthyroidism and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Even under perfect circumstances you might still find yourself waiting longer than you expected to confirm that you’re pregnant, and the next stage of your journey towards starting a family can begin.
Fortunately, advances in technology mean that fertility assistance that was previously the preserve of the medical profession are available in apps, and devices that fit in the palm of your hand. While an expert medical opinion is still the best possible help you could get, the ability to learn more about your menstrual cycle, and your chances of getting pregnant can help to set your mind at rest as well as boosting your chances of a quick conception.
One of the most important things you can do that can cut down on the time you’re waiting to conceive is identify when you’re going to ovulate. Given the maximum lifespan of both sperm and egg, to conceive successfully you need to be trying in the four to five days before you ovulate, and up to one day after. This gives sperm and egg the maximum chance to meet.
A fertility monitor can really help you here. This is a device that tracks your fertility through the month and can give you a prediction for the next date you’ll ovulate, and in turn your ‘fertile window’. There are two main types of fertility monitors: hormone based and temperature based.
Hormone based fertility monitors test your urine to check your hormone levels – not unlike pregnancy tests! In this case they’re looking for the Luteinising hormone: the hormone that tells your ovaries to release an egg when it’s fertile. Modern ovulation predictor kits don’t just give you a binary yes/no answer but build in a calendar function that tracks your hormone levels over the course of multiple days, showing the build up to ovulation, and helping you predict when it’s going to happen.
Unfortunately, if you are suffering from any kind of issue that could disturb your hormone levels, it makes it difficult for a hormone-based test to five an accurate result. Monitors that use your basal body temperature as their key metric are far more helpful in this case: this is a measure of fertility that is not affected by PCOS. BBT monitors are sophisticated bits of technology that incorporate sensitive thermometers and computers to turn the readings into accurate predictions of your next ovulate date, and they’re an investment that it’s well worth making.