Can a Wearable Fertility Tracker Actually Help You Get Pregnant? We Put It to the Test
Ava, a $250 bracelet that you wear while you sleep, claims it can help women trying to conceive predict when they will be most fertile
What It Is: Ava, an ovulation tracker that you wear on your wrist while you sleep and sync up with your phone in the morning. (If it looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen Khloé Kardashian touting its benefits in sponsored posts on her social media. “I really believe in this company’s mission and love that they are giving women a better, easier way to track their cycles and their health at every phase of life,” she wrote.)
Who Tried It: Maria Mercedes Lara, Programming Director
Level of Difficulty: 2 out of 10. The only “hard” part is remembering to put on your bracelet before going to bed. You will also need a smartphone with Bluetooth.
How It Worked: Ava is a wearable ovulation tracker that you wear on your wrist while you sleep. It monitors your skin temperature, resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability ratio and your sleep. According to Ava, tracking these different variables can help more accurately predict when a woman will ovulate, which is hugely important for women who are trying to conceive.
There is some science behind tracking these variables. The skin temperature tracker monitors your basal body temperature (BBT), which is your lowest body temperature during a period of rest (i.e., sleeping). According to the Mayo Clinic, you are most fertile the two or three days before your temperature rises, and tracking temperature over time can help women predict when they will potentially ovulate.
Some women are advised to track their BBT using normal thermometers when they are trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatments so they have a greater chance of conceiving during their peak fertility window. The biggest drawback to tracking BBT through a thermometer is you need to take the temperature as soon as you wake up (and before you physically get up) which can be a problem if you have insomnia, a weird sleep schedule or often wake up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water or use the bathroom.
According to Ava, there have also been studies into how tracking your resting pulse rate can correlate with predicting a potential fertile window.
After wearing the bracelet — which is actually pretty comfortable — while sleeping, you plug it into its charger and open your Ava app on your phone to sync it up and review the previous night’s data. (Note: you need to sleep for at least 4 hours for the data to be logged.) Everything is stored in the app, including charts, health data and predictions for your ovulation day and your next period.
The Verdict: Overall I really liked the Ava bracelet and found it extremely easy to use. I had been using traditional BBT tracking methods before but found it difficult to keep up with it due to my weird sleep schedule and my general forgetfulness when first waking up. (I blame it on groggy morning brain.) The bracelet helped eliminate that whoops-I-forgot factor since it’s pretty easy to remember to take it off — it is a big, pretty silicone bracelet on your wrist after all — and your temperature doesn’t need to be taken right when you wake up since it is tracked throughout the night, so if you notice you’re still wearing it before you hop in the shower you can take it off and still get your data.
But will you get your Ava bracelet and instantly get pregnant on the first cycle? Probably not — or at least that didn’t happen for me. Like most tracking apps and methods, you need a few months’ worth of data to start accurately predicting when your fertility window will happen. And if you get set back by other fertility issues or a cycle where you didn’t ovulate, this can take some time. But consistent tracking — which was made easier for me thanks to Ava — is key to getting this data.
The one thing I didn’t love about Ava is that it doesn’t allow you to easily track Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK) results to compare to the other data. You can create your own “Custom Log” to include this information but it isn’t as easy to include and track compared to other fertility-tracking apps like Fertility Friend.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a gynecologist and member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad tells PEOPLE that OPKs are “far and away the most accurate tests out there” as they track your luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, which shows when you are ovulating. So it would be helpful for women who are trying to conceive to track OPK results with Ava’s other data to predict their possible fertility window. Hopefully this is a feature that can be added into Ava later on, as the bracelet itself is incredibly easy to use and provides a lot of other good information.