Curated from: fermata Singapore - Blog
Most people don’t think about their fertility health until they are about to reach their thirties when their biological clock starts to tick even louder.
With this, we can start to see the trend shift with more women wanting to take a proactive approach to their fertility, giving themselves more options through services such as egg freezing or fertility tracking.
If you browse through your girlfriend’s phone or scroll through their Instagram feed, you’ll probably find a period tracking app somewhere. While we love seeing younger women learning about their cycles through an app, most apps aren’t able to accurately know your unique menstrual cycle. Our period does not have a “one size fits all” app.
An Australian study of the most downloaded fertility apps found that less than half correctly predicted ovulation date. The founder of Clue, one of the most popular period tracking apps used by 12 million women worldwide, cautions the app users,
“It is not possible to create accurate predictions of the fertile window based only on tracking your period,” Ida Tin, Founder of Clue said. “If the goal is to get pregnant, then tracking basal body temperature and cervical mucus can help users to identify more accurately when their fertile window is.”
While an app can help predict your next period or give insight into your PMS symptoms, there are limitations. Your cycle responds to the stress in your life – handling major projects at work, over-exercising, and traveling can all affect the length of your cycle and whether you ovulate or not.
Enter femtech fertility trackers: They can give you precise data about your fertility status in real-time by monitoring your biomarkers.
Here are nine science-backed reasons why adding a fertility tracker to your toolbox can improve your health.
1. Learn your unique cycle length and patterns
A common misconception many women have is that a “normal” cycle lasts 28 days, and ovulation occurs on day 14.
In reality, what is considered “normal on average” is less important than what’s normal for you. The average of a population is about 25-30 days, but it can be as short as 21 days or longer than 35.
The cycle length varies from person to person, and even for each individual, from cycle to cycle.
2. Make periods predictable
If your cycle is irregular, possibly a cycle length out of a 21 to 35 day range and changes constantly every month, there could be an underlying hormonal imbalance that needs to be checked.
Fertility tracking helps you determine what’s normal for you and find your unique cycle patterns.
Pro Tip: On the day you expect your period, wear period underwear to prevent accidental leaks.
3. Own your emotions (and not let your emotions own you)
From puberty to perimenopause, women experience a continuous cycle of hormonal fluctuations that affect brain chemistry and thus, mood and emotions too.
Two main hormones play main roles in this mind-body connection: estrogen and progesterone.
Have you ever felt like you want to be alone more during the days before your period comes? That antisocial feeling is normal during the luteal phase, the 1-2 weeks before your period arrives.
This is the phase where premenstrual syndrome like anxiety and irritability can occur, due to an imbalance of estrogen and/or progesterone. Simple daily stressors that are usually easy to deal with feel like a struggle, and you may find yourself reacting with more negative emotions than usual.
If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), chances are your hormonal imbalances are contributing to your behavior.
During menstruation when hormones are at their lowest, you may feel fatigued. To anticipate this tiring phase, you can plan your schedule to allow for more rest than usual.
Tracking your cycle can help you understand patterns that are valuable for you.
Knowledge is power, and knowing which phase of the menstrual cycle you're in and how they affect your physical and emotional state can empower you to handle the changes better.
4. Sync your cycle to your workouts
More and more research demonstrates how the menstrual cycle affects physical performance.
However, there’s no studies that suggest that women and girls should stop exercising during menstruation. In fact, several studies suggest that moderate exercise might actually provide pain relief. This makes sense because exercise can increase the release of endorphins, which can help to relieve tension, make you feel happier and reduce the effect of period pain symptoms.
A study on elite female athletes found that heavy menstrual bleeding was associated with anemia, iron supplementation, and slower performance time. On the upside, training during the first half of the cycle has been shown to be more effective, making it the optimal time to achieve your personal best in strength. Here are some proven ways to sync your workouts to the rhythm of your menstrual cycle:
During your period: Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, which can cause lower energy levels, so lessening the intensity may be the kind gesture your body needs.
During the follicular phase : After your period ends, estrogen levels rise to a peak (just before ovulation). You may notice a boost in energy levels, which makes high intensity and strength training to be superior during this phase.
During ovulation: Estrogen initially drops off, then both estrogen and progesterone start to rise and remain high. You may experience pain related to ovulation at the beginning. When an ovary releases an egg, women actually report feeling the egg being released! It's also known as mittelschmerz (German for "middle pain" or "pain in the middle of the month").
All types of training are beneficial in this phase, but if you feel that your energy is not as high as in Phase 2, focusing on flexibility and low level conditioning may be optimal.
During the luteal phase: Declining levels of estrogen and progesterone triggers an inflammatory response. The increased stress levels may worsen PMS symptoms, so adding relaxing movements like yoga, pilates, and light aerobic exercises can help. Asanas such as child’s pose, reclined spinal twist, and cat-cow are all poses that can help to relieve tension in your lower back and pelvis.
The increase in inflammation may reduce your ability to recover after a tough workout session, so put greater focus on your recovery strategies and nutrition to offset this.
The key takeaway is, knowing how your hormones fluctuate throughout the cycle can help you be more in tune to your body’s needs and help you make kinder decisions for yourself.
5. Schedule your social events to meet your body's needs
After your period is over, the increase in estrogen and testosterone hormones during the follicular phase can give you a surge of energy.
Many women report feeling more confident, thinking clearer, and having better coordination during the follicular phase. You may even feel more assertive and willing to take risks.
Testosterone stimulates your libido while estrogen makes you feel more extroverted and suppresses your appetite. This is a great time to take advantage of that positive energy, so activities like problem-solving or socializing can fuel you!
6. Detect any potential health issues
When kegg released their 2-in-1 fertility tracker, many customers saw that their fertility patterns were disrupted by many factors such as stress, supplements, and even urinary tract infections (UTIs).
UTIs are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. But many women don’t know that UTIs can affect their fertility. Luckily for kegg users, the kegg customer support team helped them understand and find solutions to treat their infections.
There’s a common myth that if a woman’s cycle is around 28 days long, they are ovulating on day 14. Most period tracking apps use this average 28-day cycle as the standard, while a fertility tracker monitors your unique fertility biomarkers to make predictions based on your own trends.
Women don’t operate on a strict 28-day schedule, because reality hits us with everyday stressors that can suppress regular hormonal release and thus, delay ovulation.
If you’re overworked, over-exercising, or even over-dieting, that can act as stress on the body and delay ovulation, which can result in your period coming later and making the menstrual cycle longer.
7. No more pregnancy scares
The usual reaction to a late period is thinking that you’re pregnant, but when you track your fertility and know exactly when you ovulate, you’ll understand the “why” behind the way your body is behaving, which can reduce a lot of fear and anxiety around an unwanted pregnancy.
Having knowledge about our bodies is truly empowering!
8. Lessen the load when you decide to get pregnant
Tracking the biomarkers of your fertility enables you to know when you’re fertile and when you’re not, which is one of the first steps in starting your conception journey.
When women know their fertile window, couples are four times more likely to conceive.
One of the key predictors of fertility is cervical fluid — that stretchy fluid that women produce near ovulation. On average, most couples are able to get pregnant within six months to a year. However, a study of couples using a cervical fluid-tracking method (known as the Creighton Model) found that 76% of the couples conceived within the first month of trying! 90% of the couples conceived after the third month and 100% after seven months.
9. Share your fertility data with your doctor
Finally, another perk of tracking your daily fertility data is that you’ll have your cycle charts to share with your doctor. This fertility database you’re building is a powerful indicator of your overall health, just like collecting vital signs like body temperature and pulse when you visit your doctor. So much so that he American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises health practitioners to consider periods the “fifth vital sign”!
Many of us may think that tracking our period and ovulation is exclusively for understanding when we’re most fertile in hopes of getting pregnant.
But as you can see, learning about your ovulatory patterns, menstrual cycle, and overall fertility can help you in a lot of ways that have nothing to do with trying to conceive.
In honor of June being World Infertility Awareness Month, kegg is 15% off at fermata Singapore this month! Infertility can be a lonely journey, but rest assured, you are not alone. kegg’s online community is a supportive group for those trying to conceive and those using the fertility tracker who want extra support.Shop kegg 2-in-1 fertility tracker | Join kegg’s online community