Ava Bracelet Review: Manual Vs Automatic BBT Charting
If you’re not good at temping, maybe due to a hectic work schedule or nursing baby, you should consider an alternative method. The Ava bracelet might be one of the many tools that you can use to track your cycles.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I did not buy the Ava bracelet at the full price. I got it from a member of the subreddit TryingForABaby who offered it for half the price to any interested member.
How a Wrist Wearable Like Ava Helps Track Your Fertility
Many women find it appealing to track their basal body temperature (BBT) as a means of natural family planning.
It is relatively cheap to track your BBT, and you only need a thermometer and the willpower to wake up each morning at the same time to record your temperature.
Modern wearable devices take away the disadvantages of traditional BBT temping, making them appealing fertility tracking methods .
What is the Ava Bracelet and What Can it Do?
This wearable fertility tracker can detect the initial signs of fertility and indicate when your fertile window is going to end.
All you need to do is wear the bracelet shortly before you go to bed, and it collects data on nine physiologic parameters while you’re sleeping.
You can use it to gain insights about your periods, sleep, stress, and pulse and to continue to track other parameters during pregnancy.
The video below is a quick review of the Ava bracelet, including how you can use it to track your fertility and get the most accurate fertility predictions possible.
My Experience with Ava Bracelet
I will describe all the parameters that this fertility tracker monitors and share my thoughts about them.
Setting Up My Ava Account
I found it very straightforward to set up my account, although I faced some difficulties syncing the bracelet and the app. Follow these instructions to set up your Ava.
This was one of the features that I liked about Ava. For someone who had tried several basal thermometers, including a non-mercury glass basal thermometer, I found it very convenient to sleep with my tracker without having to wake up to measure my BBT.
Note: When I initially started using the Ava bracelet, I also temped using a digital basal thermometer (specifically Mabis Basal Thermometer ) to compare my findings.
My temperature readings with Ava were slightly lower than those measured with the Mabis Basal Thermometer. I didn’t find this surprising because I used the Mabis thermometer to take my oral temperature and the bracelet to measure my skin temperature.
Nevertheless, I achieved similar BBT graphs with both tools. The difference in temperature readings didn’t matter. In fact, what mattered was that I observed basal temperature shifts from a lower, pre-ovulatory level to a higher, post-ovulatory level.
I initially tried to use My Monthly Cycles to chart my BBT manually, but after dabbling around and not being able to find where I could enter my data, I gave up and downloaded this chart from Baby Center.
A Comparison of My Manually Entered Data Versus Ava Data
Resting Pulse Rate
My digital basal thermometer could definitely not provide these data. Initially, I didn’t think I was going to benefit from these data.
You might be asking yourself, “Why is the resting pulse rate important in tracking fertility?”
Let’s look at previous research findings. It was shown that during the ovulatory and luteal phase, women’s resting-heart rates were significantly higher than in the menstrual and follicular phases.
The luteal phase occurs after ovulation and before your next period starts while the follicular phase occurs after menstruation and shortly before ovulation; the ovary gets ready to release an egg during this phase.
In fact, a woman’s resting heart rate rises by about two beats per minute during her fertile window compared with the rate during menstruation.
In simpler terms, a bump in resting heart rate can indicate that ovulation will occur in about 48 hours, and if you’re trying to get pregnant, you can plan to have intercourse with your partner during this period.
Like the heart rate, breathing rate also varies during a woman’s menstrual cycle. In fact, studies conducted on asthmatic women suggested a link between respiratory symptoms and hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
Your breathing rate also varies with your daily activities. For example, you breathe more often when you’re involved in vigorous activity, but you breathe less often when you’re resting or sleeping.
By collecting data on respiration rate, the Ava Bracelet can also help indicate your fertile window.
Heart Rate Variability Ratio
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a variation in the interval between your heart beats. This can be used to indicate your level of stress.
The bracelet measures the HRV ratio, which indicates how stressed you are; i.e., the lower the rate, the less stressed you are. I wasn’t sure about the cut-off value for the HRV ratio and was okay with the app indicating whether it was low or high.
How can these data be helpful?
If your HRV ratio is high and you’re trying to get pregnant, you might want to seek help and learn about ways of decreasing stress while you’re trying to conceive. Remember that stress can interfere with conception.
In fact, a reproductive specialist observed that when stress management techniques were applied, some women were able to conceive, suggesting a link between stress and infertility.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, an adult should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per day.
But in reality, how many moms get that much sleep per day? As a working mom, I hardly get six and a half to seven hours of sleep per day due to the nature of my job.
What does sleep have to do with your fertility?
Evidence points toward an association between sleep and the menstrual cycle, i.e., your menstrual cycle sleep can affect your cycles and vice versa.
Other parameters such as perfusion, bioimpedance, movement, and heat loss are all useful in tracking fertility.
I have never really taken the time to study these data, and I hope to post an update here as I familiarize myself with this tracking bracelet and study the various parameters.
Issues That I Faced with Ava Bracelet
I felt uncomfortable during the first few days in which I started using it. I was so conscious that I had something around my wrist whenever I was in bed.
Although the material was soft, it was hard not to think that I was sleeping with a watch. Also, my skin felt a little itchy when I woke up in the morning, especially when I put the strap on a little too tight.
On the first day that I got the bracelet, I noticed that it charged very quickly. It surprised me to see a Green light appear only a few minutes after I plugged the charger in.
I felt misled, and I asked in a forum if anyone had experienced the same. I had to charge Ava for several hours before using it for the first time.
I also initially encountered problems when syncing my Ava. I had used Smart Basal Thermometer before trying Ava, so I was confident that syncing was going to be straightforward.
Connecting the module to my computer to sync the data every morning was a little challenging.
Once you connect your Ava, a blue LED light should turn on. But if a blue does not turn on, you should unplug your bracelet and plug it in again.
Occasionally, I forgot to turn on Bluetooth and encountered problems getting the data to sync. You should also check this if you’re facing trouble when syncing your Ava.
You might also want to contact support if you’re having trouble with your device.
Is Ava Bracelet Worth It?
I’ve read most of the published literature available on wearable fertility trackers, and currently available data are encouraging.
Ava is designed to accurately identify the most fertile days of a woman’s cycle. Based on clinical trials conducted on women of reproductive age, the manufacturer claims to detect the start of a woman’s fertile window earlier than other tools such as urine-based ovulation predictor kits.
The bracelet identifies an average of 5.3 fertile days per cycle with an accuracy rate of 89%.
However, if you’re looking into Ava for natural fertility planning, you should consider using its temperature and pulse data to complement an existing fertility-based birth control method.
Although the device is not designed to identify a woman’s “safe” days, the manufacturer is looking into expanding Ava’s current use as a tool to help women trying to conceive to make it a tool for women using traditional fertility-awareness techniques of birth control
While many of us have probably looked into using Ava as a method of contraception, I believe it is risky to use Ava’s fertile window prediction to determine when we’re unlikely to get pregnant.
Until the company is able to narrow the fertility risk window, it is better to use an alternative non-hormonal birth control method or, as I mentioned previously, complement the fertility tracker’s pulse rate and temperature data with other natural fertility awareness methods.
Fitbit logs a range of data about your activities throughout the day. These data include the number of steps you take, the distance covered, and the calories burned. You can also wear it to bed to monitor sleep quality.
While this device was designed to track physical activity, experts believe that women can use wearable sensors such as this one to track their heart rates and use the data to help them get pregnant.
This is because scientists found a direct correlation between the resting heart rate tracked by Fitbit devices and all four phases of the menstrual cycle.
Thus, you can better understand your fertile days by using FitBit and tracking your heart rate alongside other parameters such as your BBT or cervical mucus.
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