Can my fitness tracker help me get pregnant?

Photo: Alamy
Photo: Alamy 

Gone are the days of simply counting steps, now some fitness trackers could help women get pregnant.

Experts welcome the introduction of the new fertility prompts, but warn that for some the enhanced capabilities could increase existing anxiety among women hoping to conceive.

Now available in Australia, Fitbit Female Health Tracking enables women to keep of a record of their periods and then be notified in the days leading up to when it's expected to begin. Women can then track their cycle and see when they're estimated to be most fertile.

Its release coincides with a recent survey by the company that discovered 80 per cent of women didn't know how many phases were in a menstrual cycle and more than 70 per cent of women were unable to identify the average length of their cycle.

Head practitioner and director of Life on the Inside Elizabeth Mucci said it was common for women not to know much about their periods.

"I am not surprised that so many women do not understand their cycles and length of periods," Ms Mucci said.

"I am often clearing up misunderstandings in my practice so to enhance the chances of fertility or help women with natural contraception. 

"I have seen it have a major affect on when to try, as well as investigate whether the women are ovulating (as women often think that if they get a period they must be ovulating). Without ovulation a woman can't fall pregnant and timing is extremely important." 

According to Ms Mucci, the average length of a cycle is 26-32 days, with the best days to try to fall pregnant approximately 14 days before the bleed starts and when there is cervical mucus, right through to when the mucus ends.

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"Any tracker that improves on the understanding of when ovulation is occurring is useful, especially in those women with irregular cycles," she said.

"The tracker will help those with irregular cycles feel as though they have better control and understanding of the conception timing and their individual body's ovulation.

"I think anything that can help shed light on the women's most fertile time will often decrease anxiety in those with irregular cycles especially."

Users of the health tracker can also access educational content about the menstrual cycle and tap into the Fitbit Community Groups aimed at women trying to conceive, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause.

"This can help those that don't like to feel as though they are all alone in this process and like to know that their problem is common," she said.

Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Health and psychologist Alexandra Whitehead agreed sharing experiences with others was good for women trying to conceive.

"Having a sense of connection with others, is a major resilience building factor," Ms Whitehead said.

"Developing a network of genuine supporters is a great way to boost yours and others wellbeing." 

Feeling connected to others will help women trying to conceive, many of whom experience heightened anxiety.

"Many women become anxious about trying to conceive," she said.

"While the app itself won't be the direct cause of this (the same effect could occur from recording these details on paper), women do need to set realistic goals and timeframes when it comes to conception."

She said the app was a helpful resource for women, although its effectiveness would vary for different users.

"Any app that promotes people living their life in a healthy way should be useful, if people can use that to form better habits," she said.

"In terms of fertility, it's usefulness will be dependant upon the individual, as there can be much variation, for example those that don't display obvious signs of ovulation or who have quite irregular cycles.

"It certainly serves a purpose, by allowing women to record their information in one convenient place."