Fertility tracking, or the practice of monitoring and recording a woman’s menstrual cycle and fertility markers in order to understand and predict ovulation, has a long and varied history. While modern methods such as basal body temperature tracking and ovulation predictor kits have become popular in recent years, the idea of tracking fertility dates back centuries.
One of the earliest recorded methods of fertility tracking is the rhythm method, which dates back to the ancient Egyptians. This method involves counting the days of the menstrual cycle and predicting ovulation based on the assumption that a woman’s menstrual cycle is consistent from month to month. This method was later popularized by the Catholic Church in the 20th century as a form of natural family planning.
Another early method of fertility tracking is the calendar method, which was first developed in the 1930s. This method involves recording the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle and predicting ovulation based on the assumption that ovulation occurs around the same time each month. This method is still in use today and has been modified to include additional factors such as basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes.
In the 1950s, Dr. John Rock and Dr. George Vollum developed the first fertility prediction kit, which used the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) in a woman’s urine to predict ovulation. This method, known as the LH surge method, is still in use today and is the basis for many modern ovulation predictor kits.
Another important development in fertility tracking was the introduction of basal body temperature (BBT) tracking in the 1970s. BBT is the lowest body temperature reached during sleep and is influenced by the hormone progesterone, which is produced by the corpus luteum after ovulation. By taking a woman’s BBT every morning, it is possible to predict ovulation and identify when she is most fertile.
In the 1980s and 1990s, advances in technology led to the development of digital fertility trackers, which use sensors and algorithms to track a woman’s menstrual cycle and predict ovulation. These devices, which can be worn on the body or used as an app, have become increasingly popular in recent years as they provide a convenient and accurate way to track fertility.
Overall, the history of fertility tracking is a testament to the longstanding desire of women to understand and predict their fertility. From the rhythm and calendar methods of ancient times to the digital fertility trackers of today, women have sought ways to track and understand their menstrual cycles and fertility markers in order to plan their pregnancies and manage their reproductive health.