Last year, we took a look at one of a few companies trying to bring fertility tracking into the modern era. Spurning invasive or time consuming methods like basal body thermometers or urine tests, Ava created a wristband that uses a combination of sensors to track heart rate and body temperature to approximate a number of stats, including estradiol levels — changes that can detect when a woman’s fertility cycle starts almost immediately.
At the time, Ava was made for women trying to get pregnant. It looked great for that purpose, but it was also a $200 device that might be destined for the junk drawer after its owner successfully conceives. When I spoke to founder Lea von Bidder last year, she said that some early adopters had been interested in using Ava as a cycle tracker, and suggested that the bracelet could have its uses during after pregnancy. Today, Ava is revealing some ways that they’re helping women to get more use out of Ava with a new update to the companion app due out on June 1.
Like with its fertility tracking, Ava will soon use the temperature and heart rate data it collects to draw conclusions about a woman’s body during pregnancy. The new features will help pregnant women understand the changes that happen throughout that nine-month stretch, which could prove especially important for first time mothers-to-be. If worn 24/7 (or close to it), Ava will be able to make conclusions about sleep quality and stress, helping women adjust. The features are educational — not the transformative leap that the fertility tracking features were, but useful nonetheless.
Additionally, Ava released the results of a study regarding the use of heart rate monitoring in predicting the fertility window. Ever since the rise of fitness trackers, there’s been increased interest in this kind of research, with results increasingly suggesting that there’s a real connection. Ava’s study, which was published in Scientific Reports earlier this month (full research report here), used heart rate tracking along with a urine test to measure 274 ovulatory cycles of 91 women between ages 22 and 42. The research team found that the resting pulse rate of the women increased about 2.1 beats per minute during the fertility period, taking possibly confounding lifestyle variables into effect.
It’s another bit of proof that devices with heart rate monitors can really help predict fertility windows. Ava is certainly included in that group, and might have a leg up on non-medical trackers like Fitbit, which was hit with a class-action lawsuit over the accuracy of its heart rate monitoring last year.