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Dossier: Planning a family

Three digital pregnancy aids

Having difficulties falling pregnant can be very stressful for couples. Electronic fertility and cycle trackers can help identify a woman’s fertile days. Three examples.

Text: Sonja Brunschwiler; photo: Unsplash

Few women fall pregnant at the first or second attempt. However, if you still fail to conceive after taking your temperature and monitoring your cervical mucus over a longer period, today there are other options available: digital fertility and cycle trackers. These are a slightly more expensive option, but they give a better overview of your fertile days and when you’re ovulating. Three examples:

Cycle tracker: Ava bracelet

This globally acclaimed tool was the first fertility tracker that can be worn on the wrist. It is based on a new method for tracking the female cycle: Sensors record nine physiological parameters during sleep that are used to automatically calculate the fertile days. The mobile phone app that comes with the bracelet displays the resting pulse rate, skin temperature, sleep patterns and stress levels graphically. Ava uses this data to identify the fertility window and the exact moment of ovulation at a very early stage. These functions set Ava apart from other types of measurement, which often only identify the last two days in a fertility window, and also from the temperature method, which only indicates ovulation shortly after it has started.

Fertility tracker: Clearblue mini-computer

This tracker is easy to operate via touchscreen. It works with urine test sticks, which can be replenished as necessary. Clearblue measures the concentration of the two female fertility hormones oestrogen and LH (luteinising hormone) and uses this data to calculate the fertility window in each cycle. Unlike traditional ovulation sticks, Clearblue indicates days of high fertility and days of maximum fertility and adjusts to the user’s cycle when used over several months to give optimised results.

Breath analyser: analytical device Breathe ILO

This breath analyser uses a self-teaching algorithm to determine a woman’s fertile days. All you have to do is breathe into the device’s mouthpiece for a minute a day to measure the CO2 content of your breath. Breathe ILO uses this CO2 measurement and the lifestyle tracking function in the app to calculate your cycle. What sets Breathe ILO apart from conventional methods is that it enables live tracking instead of giving a predicted value.

Warning: None of these fertility and cycle trackers are accurate enough to be used as a method of contraception.

If you don’t conceive while trying to fall pregnant, you often suffer feelings of stress, frustration and desperation. So it’s great that there are ways to improve your chances of conceiving today. Gynaecologist Nicole Landolt from the Medix group practice in Zurich agrees, but adds: “Humans aren’t machines, every body is different. And even the most sophisticated trackers available today can’t take these differences into account 100%.” She therefore considers it important that women who want to get pregnant keep looking for ways to relax – and don’t lose patience. “Acupuncture or massage treatment can help you relax. But talking to your partner or best friend can also often help reduce stress and take the pressure off.”