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Go-Go-Gadget Baby! Okay, so it might not be that easy. But with the latest high-tech tools, getting pregnant can be a whole lot easier. We asked Melissa M. Goist, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Medical Center, to share her favorite fertility gadgets from basal body thermometers and ovulation tests to fertility watches and smartphone apps.
Bottom line: "Any woman who is trying to conceive should be aware of her own cycle. Not everyone has the classic 28-day menses, where bleeding starts on day one and ends between days five and seven," Goist says. "That's where the gadgets come in."
Best Apple App: Woman Calendar
"It looks and works great," Dr. Goist says. Whether on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, this fancy-pants gadget tracks information like the dates of ovulation and your period, basal body temperature measurements, and sexual activities, complete with charts and graphs of your data. The coolest part: You can export all the data via email or print it for your next doctor's appointment.
Don't want to spend 10 bucks on an app? Lily and Ovulator are available in the iTunes app store for less digital dough, while Menstrual Calendar is free. "They aren't as sophisticated, but they will work."
Best Android App: WomanLog Calendar
It's free, pretty in pink, and oh-so-easy to use. All of the app's main functions are accessible via a simple calendar. Tap a date, type, and track your periods, basal body temperatures, and most fertile days. It's no wonder that more than 11,300 customers have rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars, and Dr. Goist's medical assistant swears by it.
Best Basal Body Thermometer: Optimus Petit Sophia Fertility Monitor
No, it's not a typo. This baby-making gadget really costs 90 bucks. But trust us--if you're in the market for a basal body thermometer, it's the way to go. "It's very easy to use and helpful," Dr. Goist says. "It's not just a thermometer. It gives so much additional information." It looks like any old thermometer, but it will store temperatures and symptoms for 210 days or 6 cycles, indicates fertile days, possibility of pregnancy, and hypothetical due dates (a bit extravagant, but still fun to think about). Plus, it has a handy-dandy PC printout function. As if that weren't enough, it has an alarm clock to make sure you take your temperature at the same time of day for most accurate readings. But keep in mind that only once ovulation occurs does basal body temperature increase. If you want to take advantage of all of your fertile days per cycle, you'll need to get it on even before your temperature spikes, Dr. Goist says. Still, if your cycles are regular, the thermometer will go a long way in predicting fertile days for future cycles.
Best Ovulation Test: Clearblue Easy Digital Ovulation Test
Cost: $37 for 20
The first and only digital ovulation test, "it's a little more expensive, but it's so much easier to understand," Dr. Goist says. It's 99 percent accurate in detecting the rise of the ovulation hormone LH, 24 to 36 hours prior to ovulation, to identify the two best days to conceive per cycle. And impatient women can rejoice-- it gives you a result in just three minutes.
Best Fertility Monitor: Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor
The only noninvasive monitor that tracks both LH and estrogen hormones, it identifies up to six fertile days per cycle (from four days before ovulation to the day after). And by storing information about your personal hormone patterns, it customizes itself to your body and cycle, whether it?s "regular" or "irregular." But remember--after buying the monitor, you still have to keep it stocked with test strips ($32 for 30).
Best Fertility Watch: OV-Watch
How's this for trippy: a gizmo that detects ovulation and fertility just by touching your skin. With little-bitty sensors ($40 for a month's worth), it monitors your skin's secretion of chloride ions, which fluctuates throughout your cycle, and notifies you four days before ovulation, allowing you to take advantage of all of your most fertile days. And because you simply wear it to bed, it involves no peeing on a stick. Gotta love that.
Best In Vitro Fertilization Predictor: IVF Predict
Birth rates resulting from a cycle of in vitro fertilization using a woman's own eggs range from 41 percent for women ages 34 and younger to 1 percent for women ages 45 and older, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Using a formula based on data from more than 144,000 in vitro fertilization cycles, IVF Predict calculates a couple's possibility of giving birth with IVF. Just answer nine questions on your health, pregnancy history, and experience with IVF and--voilá!--you'll know your chances IVF will work for you and yours.
Best Pregnancy Test: Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test
When it comes to accuracy, pretty much all pregnancy tests are created equal. "Going to the dollar store and getting a pregnancy test is good enough," Dr. Goist says. Although most pregnancy tests are 99 percent accurate from the first day of your expected period, many advertise that they can detect pregnancy four, five, or even six days before a missed period. But the truth is they can't do it with overwhelming accuracy. That said, this is about the user-friendliest pregnancy test out there, according to Goist. Pee on the stick and a digital screen will display "pregnant" or "not pregnant." No more trying to decipher half-lines and pseudo plus signs.
Copyright © 2011 Meredith Corporation.