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5 Common Misconceptions About Fertility Tracking

5 Common Misconceptions About Fertility Tracking

Understanding the science of fertility tracking your cycle is a great first step toward increasing your chances of pregnancy.

Written By
Lindsay Meisel

Lindsay Meisel

May 2, 2022

If you’ve spent your whole life trying to avoid pregnancy, it can be a big surprise to learn that getting pregnant isn’t always easy. For many women, trying to conceive is a frustrating experience that takes longer than you may have expected. Add it fertility tracking, and it can be huge mental undertaking, as well. One of the main keys to becoming pregnant and quality tracking is to make sure you know the truth about common conception myths.

If the last time you learned about female reproductive health was when you were a student in grade school, it might be time for a refresher. Here are the top 5 misconceptions people have about getting pregnant.

Misconception #1: Whenever you have sex, there’s at least some chance of getting pregnant

Most people learned as teenagers that there is at least a slim chance of getting pregnant any time you have sex. But this is simply not true. While men are fertile every day, women have only a few days each month when it’s possible to get pregnant: the day of ovulation and the five days before.

It can be hard to know with absolute certainty exactly when those 6 days fall for you—and they may not happen on the same days every month—but tracking your cycle can help you narrow it down.

There are many different cycle tracking options available. Methods that take into account physiological data—such as cervical mucus or temperature—offer greater accuracy because they are personalized to your body. The Ava bracelet is worn during sleep, tracking your temperature, resting heart rate, breathing rate, and more in order to determine precisely when you’re fertile.

Misconception #2: To get pregnant, you must have sex or plan your insemination on the day you ovulate

In contrast to the first misconception, some people believe it’s only possible to get pregnant when you’re ovulating. But actually, the day of ovulation is not the best day to have sex when you’re trying to conceive.

In fact, research shows that getting pregnant is slightly more likely during the two to three days before ovulation compared to ovulation day itself. It’s best to think of ovulation as the end of your fertile window—not the best day to get pregnant, but the very last chance to try.

Misconception #3: Ovulation tests tell you your most fertile days

Ovulation tests are urine tests that help you track your fertile days. They are also called ovulation predictor kits, OPKs, or LH tests. These tests detect the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which is a sign that you might be close to ovulating.

Using these tests can help you time intercourse around your fertile window. When you get a positive ovulation test, it’s a sign that you are likely fertile.

But LH tests don’t always detect your most fertile days, which may fall before the ovulation test turns positive.

Ovulation occurs an average of 24 hours after the LH surge first begins, though this time can be shorter or longer for some people. The best days to get pregnant are the two to three days before ovulation—multiple studies have shown that having sex on these days carries even higher chances of pregnancy than the day of ovulation itself.

This means that if you wait for a positive ovulation test to have intercourse, you might be missing out on some of the most fertile days of your cycle. It’s best to think of the LH surge as the beginning of the end of your fertile window.

Misconception #4: Fertility-friendly lube can boost your chances of conceiving

There are a number of studies suggesting that conventional vaginal lubricants can damage sperm and slow them down on their journey toward your egg. So it’s a good thing that specially formulated “fertility-friendly” lubricants are available for couples who are trying to conceive.

Unfortunately, many couples believe that these lubricants can increase the chances of pregnancy. In fact, the only claim these products can make is that they are less harmful to sperm than conventional lubricants.

If you usually use lube during sex for comfort and pleasure reasons, you should switch to a fertility-friendly one during your fertile window. But if you can have sex easily and comfortably without lube, there’s no reason to add it to your routine—it does not boost your fertility.

Misconception #5: You need to wait until your missed period to take a pregnancy test

It’s usually recommended to wait to take a pregnancy test until your period is late. The reason for this recommendation is that most women don’t track their menstrual cycles, and therefore don’t know for sure when they ovulated.

But if you do know when you ovulated, you can absolutely take a pregnancy test earlier and still be confident in the answer. Here’s what you need to know:

Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of the hormone hCG, which is only present in significant quantities in urine once the process of implantation is complete. Implantation can occur between 6 – 12 days after ovulation, but most often occurs 8 – 10 days after ovulation.

By one day after implantation, hCG levels in most pregnancies have risen above the minimum level detectable by the most sensitive home pregnancy tests.

Based on all this information, when can you take a pregnancy test and be confident in the result? Twelve days past ovulation, which for most women is several days before their period is due.

By 12 days past ovulation, the chances of getting a positive pregnancy test if you are truly pregnant are high. And the chances of getting a false negative pregnancy test, in case you are pregnant but don’t yet have detectable hCG levels yet, are low.

Fertility Tracking Conclusion

Understanding the science of fertility is a great first step toward increasing your chances for pregnancy. But to really make a difference, it’s important to see how it all works on the individual level.

That’s where Ava comes in. The Ava bracelet is a fertility tracker that’s just as dynamic as you are. Worn only at night, Ava reads your heart rate, temperature, breathing rate and more in order to detect your fertile window in real time. Take control of your fertility with the first and only FDA-cleared fertility tracking bracelet. Enter promo code EXPECTFUL at checkout for $20 off your order.

Lindsay Meisel
Lindsay Meisel