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Biosci Rep. 2018 Nov 30;38(6). pii: BSR20171279. doi: 10.1042/BSR20171279. Print 2018 Dec 21.

Modern fertility awareness methods: wrist wearables capture the changes in temperature associated with the menstrual cycle.

Author information

1
Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.
2
Ava AG, Zurich, Switzerland.
3
Clinic for Reproductive Endocrinology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland Brigitte.Leeners@usz.ch.

Abstract

Core and peripheral body temperatures are affected by changes in reproductive hormones during the menstrual cycle. Women worldwide use the basal body temperature (BBT) method to aid and prevent conception. However, prior research suggests that taking one's daily temperature can prove inconvenient and subject to environmental factors. We investigate whether a more automatic, non-invasive temperature measurement system can detect changes in temperature across the menstrual cycle. We examined how wrist skin temperature (WST), measured with wearable sensors, correlates with urinary tests of ovulation and may serve as a new method of fertility tracking. One hundred and thirty-six eumenorrheic, non-pregnant women participated in an observational study. Participants wore WST biosensors during sleep and reported their daily activities. An at-home luteinizing hormone (LH) test was used to confirm ovulation. WST was recorded across 437 cycles (mean cycles/participant = 3.21, S.D. = 2.25). We tested the relationship between the fertile window and WST temperature shifts, using the BBT three-over-six rule. A sustained 3-day temperature shift was observed in 357/437 cycles (82%), with the lowest cycle temperature occurring in the fertile window 41% of the time. Most temporal shifts (307/357, 86%) occurred on ovulation day (OV) or later. The average early-luteal phase temperature was 0.33°C higher than in the fertile window. Menstrual cycle changes in WST were impervious to lifestyle factors, like having sex, alcohol, or eating prior to bed, that, in prior work, have been shown to obfuscate BBT readings. Although currently costlier than BBT, the present study suggests that WST could be a promising, convenient parameter for future multiparameter fertility awareness methods.

KEYWORDS:

Basal body temperature; Fertility awareness methods; Menstrual cycle; Wrist skin temperature

PMID:
29175999
PMCID:
PMC6265623
DOI:
10.1042/BSR20171279
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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