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During my time at Us Weekly, I have one vivid memory which involved Britney Spears. If you remember the infamous Britney meltdown of 2008, then you might recall being shocked when she began dating paparazzo Adnan Ghalib (who can forget that goatee?!) Their relationship only lasted briefly before she filed a restraining order against him but during the course of their tumultuous time together, grainy images of the two surfaced at a drugstore picking up what appeared to be a pregnancy test. It was hard to tell. The drugstore wasn’t far from our offices so at the suggestion of my editor, I drove there and marched up the aisle where said photos were taken to investigate. Turned out Britney and Adnan weren’t picking up a box of pregnancy tests, they were in the market for an ovulation kit.
At the time, in my early twenties, I didn’t know what an ovulation test was or understand the need to forecast days when I would be “most fertile.” Fast forward to a decade later: I only began learning about fertility when I was trying to get pregnant… which brings us to my current situation.
How It Works: The Ava Bracelet Lowdown
Over the holidays, the Ava Ovulation Bracelet makes its way onto my desk- I’ve been invited to try the tech startup’s newest product: version 2 of their Ava tracking device. Designed to monitor your health whether you are trying to conceive, already pregnant or just looking to understand your body, Ava is a fertility bracelet worn to continuously measure key health characteristics while you sleep. The recorded parameters are then fed into Ava’s algorithm in order to determine your ovulation window.
While there are tons of fertility tracking devices, ovulation predictor kits and menstrual apps out there, some methods rely on one or two parameters (detecting luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, measuring estrogen levels, etc) to identify the optimal fertile window. Ava, however, is the first smart ovulation tool to track resting pulse rate to help increase a healthy woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. Specifically, the bracelet measures nine criteria: skin temperature, resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability ratio, perfusion, movement, sleep and data quality.
Fertility Tracking Made Easy
For any woman trying to conceive (the term is called TTC), reproductive experts will stress the importance of monitoring your menstrual cycle. Donning this wearable tracker makes it a lot easier than peeing on a stick or taking your temperature to find out when you’re ovulating. Wear the Ava bracelet each night to bed and wake up to insight on your sleep, stress, resting heart rate, and fertility. The data gathered includes changes in both progesterone and estradiol levels, allowing them to calculate your optimal five-day fertility timeframe in real time.
Ideal For Cycle Tracking
For women who aren’t ready to get pregnant yet, Ava can be a great gadget to understand your health through your period. There are so many factors that can influence your menstrual cycle – hormonal changes, daily stresses, poor sleep, eating habits, or lack of exercise. And while stress is your body’s reaction to change, the stress your body feels on the surface differs greatly than the stress your body is experiencing. With the ability to track these physiological stresses – Ava records these levels through its heart rate variability criteria – along with your sleep quantity and quality, you’ll be able to see the ebbs and flows in your health over time and thus, give you the power to identify your stressors and change the situation.
If you are currently pregnant, Ava is a valuable apparatus for the quantified-selfers amongst us. As a first time mom-to-be, I was interested in seeing how the Ava bracelet would work for me. Apart from seeing the physical changes my body was going through, I was more concerned about symptoms I had never experienced before. Monitoring the seemingly daily changes and having a database where I could keep an eye on things like my heart rate or temperature was reassuring. In the morning, sync Ava with your smartphone and you can check your graphs and charts and in time, begin to notice the patterns of your prenatal cycle. The app also provides a week-by-week guide of your pregnancy – how your baby is growing, the possible changes your body is undergoing – and a to-do checklist for the stage you’re at. Consistent tracking is key to getting the information you need, and the bracelet makes it easy to do since all you have to do is remember to put it on before bed.
Having gone through clinical testing in a yearlong study at the University Hospital of Zurich, the IOT startup launched in 2016 in the US where it went on to become an award-winning consumer electronic product and has helped over 10,000 women across the world get pregnant. Ava has now expanded sales to Asia, launching an office in Hong Kong. “We have seen huge demand from women in Asia who have been waiting for a better way to track their cycles, improve their chances of conception and get valuable insights to take control of their health,” Ava Co-Founder Lea von Bidder told PR Newswire. “With this Hong Kong launch, we are excited to meet the need here and as a stepping stone to the rest of Asia.”
Overall, I found Ava easy to use and a great source of helpful data during my pregnancy. Anyone who enjoys monitoring their stats will welcome the bracelet in their daily life. Also a bonus: their customer service is prompt. The one time I ran into syncing issues, the team was more than obliging. I’m already intrigued to start using it postpartum when my body gets back into the swing of having regular cycles again.
Ava is available for purchase now, priced at HKD 2,388. Orders will arrive in two weeks by courier delivery.
All images courtesy of Ava.