How I track my Fertility on a budget

When influencers talk about fertility tracking, they often recommend expensive tech tools like the Daysy or the Pearly, but not everybody can afford those – even if for the Daysy, you have the option of a no-fee payment plan and some health insurances even cover it. I already showed on Instagram what I use, but I think it’s better for you to have a long-term source of information and for me to explain as much as possible how to read your graphs.

What do you need?
Clinical Basal Thermometer (accurate 1/100th degree) – $23.80
OvaGraph App – free

How to use them?
I suggest starting tracking the first day of your period – but it’s ok anyway especially if you remember when your latest period started. Now, first thing first when you wake up, that means no hugging your partner, no checking your Instagram notifications, no drinking a glass of water, no talking, no getting up, grab your thermometer, put it under your tongue and measure your basal temperature and record it on the app. When you get your period, start a new cycle. Easy peasy.

Why using a fertility tracker?
It’s a great tool! It helps to prevent a pregnancy or to plan one showing you which days are the most fertile but, to me, it’s especially great for a couple of more reasons.
If you know my story, I didn’t have a period from 17 to 25 years old, and it’s always been very irregular in the last 4 years, so, of course, I’ve always doubted my fertility, to the point of being afraid to not ever be able to get pregnant and asking Lorenzo if he was ready to that chance. By using this simple and harmless method, you can understand what’s going on in your body: by simply analyzing your graphs, you can understand if you’re ovulating or not – because, if you didn’t know, having a period doesn’t mean you also ovulate.

In my case, as soon as I started checking my temperature following Arianna advice, we realized that not only I had no ovulation, but also that my temperature was generally too low, meaning that there was a thyroid or metabolism issue to resolve. After some dietary and lifestyle change, my temperature increased – in just a couple of weeks! – and I started having ovulation every month.

How does a good graph look like?
Let’s take a look at one of my charts.

Be aware that this app won’t probably be perfect, meaning that it may show you ovulation on a weird day. Sure thing, knowing how to read a graph and checking your mucus help you to interpret the results. For instance, in my opinion, ovulation was around day 16 and 19, not on day 21 as suggested by the app. Note that the low temperature on day 29 was inaccurate – I measured it at 6.30 after spending more than 1 hour awake in my bed trying to sleep again after waking up to pee.

How does a not-so-good chart look like?
You can see these examples in the figure below.

  1. It has the same evolution I showed you above, but the luteal phase is shorter than 10 days. That probably shows a progesterone deficiency, but before starting taking a vitex agnus castus supplement, consult your ob-gyn to verify if that’s the issue – if not, vitex could cause more harm than good.
  2. There’s no biphasic evolution – the temperature is all over the place or it’s basically always the same. A few anovulatory cycles can happen, but if it’s a recurring occurrence, consult your ob-gyn to understand if it’s a hormonal or physical issue.
  3. The temperature is generally too low, meaning under 97F (36.1C). That’s a signal of metabolic slowdown that can be caused by your thyroid (are you eating enough?), lacking muscle mass or cortisol related issues. Cortisol is also called stress hormone, so if you’re stressing out, both mentally or physically, you should take care of yourself and change your lifestyle – are you working out too much? Are you working on too many different projects at work? Are you taking care of your kids by yourself and your partner doesn’t contribute? Together with lifestyle changes, an adaptogen like ashwagandha could help, but ask your health practitioner to suggest which one could be better for you.

When can I get pregnant?
The best days to have sex if you’re planning a pregnancy, are the day before and the day of the ovulation, but since sperm can survive in your vagina up to 5 days, if you had unprotected sex on day 10 and you ovulate on day 14, you still can get pregnant. From the day after the ovulation, you can’t get pregnant, so there’s basically only a 5 days window when unprotected sex shouldn’t be an option if you’re using the fertility tracking method as a contraceptive. Keep in mind that you’ll need at least a few tracked cycles to understand how your body works and when you’re really fertile.

I really hope this post helps you! If you have any question, feel free to contact me here or on Instagram 🙂
To the next time, xoxo

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