How Your Ear Can Help You Get Pregnant
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
This other body part can help you get knocked up.
By Simon Cohen
Getting pregnant might be perfectly natural, but for many couples trying to conceive, it’s far from naturally perfect. After months of fruitless (yet presumably very enjoyable) trying, some women head off in search of a basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer. Most women experience a small (in some cases less than 1 degree Fahrenheit) increase in their BBT immediately following ovulation. The goal is to predict the two- to three-day period before the temperature rise — so you can have sex during your most fertile window — which may increase your odds of conceiving, especially if you’re not having sex on a regular basis throughout your cycle. It can be a painstaking process.
Vanessa Xi understands the hassles of measuring BBT all too well — she used it as a conception technique for months while trying to become pregnant. The process “was very frustrating and very tiring,” Xi tells OZY. So she came up with a new method: a tiny wearable device that you insert in your ear every night before going to sleep. While you’re dreaming, the small silicon device, called a Yono, uses the consistent environment of your ear to track your body temperature, measuring it every 15 minutes. In the morning, place the Yono back in its charging cradle and it transmits the night’s data to your smartphone. The free companion app handles all the number crunching for you.
The Yono automates your data and displays it graphically.
Made by Xi’s team in Sunnyvale, California, it’s available for $150 (or a four-month lease for $60). If that sounds expensive, especially compared with a typical off-the-shelf BBT thermometer, available for about $17 at Walgreens, consider this: A BBT thermometer’s accuracy (and thus its value for charting BBT) depends on you. “You have to wake up at the same time every day,” says Xi, and even the smallest amount of movement — like getting out of bed to pee — can have an immediate effect on your body’s temperature. Forget to measure one day? That can can spell trouble too. Even if you have excellent waking and measuring hygiene, you’ll still have to spend five minutes every morning getting a reading and manually recording the data. Then you’ll have to repeat that for 28 to 32 days in a row, the minimum amount of time needed to figure out when you’re ovulating. Experts recommend doing this for several months. The Yono automates the whole process and displays your data in an easy-to-understand calendar graphic so you can pinpoint the best dates for sex (see, Tinder isn’t the only app for that).
The Yono, like the process of getting knocked up, isn’t naturally perfect either. BBT measurements aren’t a guarantee of conception. “Basal body temperature is just one measurement technique that is used to predict ovulation,” says Dr. Francisco Arredondo, a Texas-based ob-gyn. To be accurate, he points out that you still have to manually chart both the color and consistency of the cervical mucus and the position and firmness of the cervix. Also, some women do not experience a spike in body temperature post-ovulation, in which case BBT devices won’t help.
Still, in a world filled with wearables and gadgets trying to improve your life, it’s nice to know there’s one that’s focused on a better way to make a life.