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Getting Pregnant with Irregular Cycles
If you're reading this, you're probably already aware that having an irregular cycle can make it difficult to predict your ovulation date which in turn leads to difficulty getting pregnant. Compounding this issue is the fact that most fertility monitors on the market are unable to account for an irregular cycle, and as such, often provide inaccurate results.
In contrast, the OvaCue technology provides a reliable ovulation prediction method for trying-to-conceive women with irregular cycles (as well as women with regular cycles, of course). Here's why: An irregular cycle is often correlated with some degree of hormonal imbalance. While other fertility monitors predict ovulation based on the attainment of a pre-determined level of a given hormone (either luteinizing hormone, estrogen, or a combination of the two), the OvaCue has no predetermined level set — rather, it interprets each reading in your cycle in relation to your previous readings. That is to say, the OvaCue doesn't look for a specific reading based on statistical averages, it looks for an overall trend in your body's own unique readings. This method of ovulation determination is particularly suitable for women with irregular cycles since a hormonal imbalance may prevent you from reaching a predetermined hormone level prior to ovulation.
The OvaCue uses your average cycle length to determine when it should be looking for certain trends in your oral readings. Once it detects this trend (what's known as your "cue peak"), the OvaCue will populate out a “fertile window” in varying shades of blue (from light blue to dark blue), giving 5-7 day notice of ovulation. However, women with irregular cycles may not necessarily ovulate in 5-7 days; they may ovulate before or after that time.
With the data collected from the vaginal sensor, the monitor is able to cross-reference additional data points which are provided from interpreting electrolyte levels in your cervical mucus. This allows the monitor to determine when your estrogen levels are decreasing and your progesterone levels are increasing (ovulation). If you happen to ovulate earlier than the oral sensor predicted, the vaginal readings will indicate that. This is also the case if ovulation is going to occur later than the oral readings had originally predicted; the OvaCue (based on the vaginal readings) will extend your "fertile" window until progesterone dominance has been detected. Please note, that while the color coding produced by the monitor provides a convenient way to assess your fertility status, for women with highly irregular cycles, it may also be necessary to interpret actual reading data (in addition to looking at the color coding), to accurately determine your most fertile days in the cycle and when ovulation occurred. Having sex on your most fertile days will maximize the chances of getting pregnant. For best results, we encourage you to contact our OvaCue Specialists at Fairhaven Health for assistance with data intepretation whenever necessary.
Some women, particularly women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), experience “multiple follicular stimulation”, a condition in which more than one follicle is selected during the course of a cycle. Multiple follicular stimulation can occur if the dominant follicle does not mature or rupture as expected (perhaps due to a timing issue with the secretion of luteinizing hormone or some other hormone imbalance). As a result, the egg is not released and fertilization cannot occur. The body will often recognize that there is a problem with the first follicle and will attempt to address the situation by selecting a second follicle 3-5 days later. For trying-to-conceive women, recognizing the selection of this second follicle is important, as it will result in ovulation occurring later than expected. (Note: multiple follicular stimulation is one reason why some women experience longer than normal cycles). Using data gathered from the oral and vaginal sensors, the OvaCue can help you determine if you are experiencing multiple follicular stimulation. For more information see Multiple Follicular Stimulation, Secondary Fertility, and the Purple Box.
Bottom line: Women with irregular cycles are able to use the OvaCue Mobile Fertility Monitor or OvaCue Mobile to accurately identify their peak fertile time in a way that no other ovulation prediction method can match.