Saturday, February 23, 2013

Top ten things to know before purchasing a Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor

Hey girls (or guys)!  I'm sure many of you along your fertility journey have been considering the purchase of a fertility monitor. Or maybe you've heard of one, but don't know what the heck it does. I was blessed to be gifted with an early generation Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor (actually Clearplan) also known as CBEFM/CBFM.

I'm sure many of you are wondering what it is like to use one, how accurate they are, and whether or not it is worth 200 bucks or more.  There are a variety of fertility monitors out there. From what I can tell of most, they are effective at helping you pinpoint ovulation, and generally more accurate (or at least convenient) than an OPK.

First, I want to say that my first cycle using my CBEFM, I achieved pregnancy. Although that cycle ended with a miscarriage, I do not think the CBEFM is to blame. In fact, I know I would not have done any baby-dancing around my peak days had it not been for the CBEFM. Miscarriages happen.  Sometimes we don't know why. Again, one reason I continue to use my CBEFM is that I know personally that it WORKS!

That being said, here are some top ten little known facts about your CBEFM that you might want to consider before purchasing. Also, it was REALLY hard to stick to 10, which is why I have so many sub-bullets.

  1. One box of 30 test sticks does not necessarily last 3 months
    1. This is because most women who are desperate enough to purchase one of these suckers may not have your classic "28 day" cycle with CD14, or may have troubles ovulating at all. 
    2. CBEFM estimates an average woman will need 10 sticks per cycle, however, since it's memory banks have no idea how long your cycle is the first time, it will prompt for test sticks at CD6. If you KNOW you regularly ovulate past CD16, wait to test until at least 10 days before your earliest known O date. 
  2. CBEFMs are calibrated for cycle lengths between 21 and 44 days. 
    1. If you are regularly anovulatory, or often have cycles below 21 days and above 44 days, this particular monitor may not be worth investing in. You will be basically pouring money down the toilet with the number of test sticks you will go through without any sort of change in your reading. 
  3. Depending on your testing habits, you might skip a Peak reading.
    1. Part of this may be whether you are anovulatory that cycle, but if you start testing too late or perhaps skip a test too close to Peak, you might see one or two Highs and then a Low with no Peak. It does not necessarily mean you did not ovulate.
  4. Most CBEFM models will automatically give you a pattern of Peak, High, Low after your initial Peak
    1. So don't waste your sticks! Once you see a Peak, you are DONE testing. The tricky little bugger will still ask for sticks though. CBEFM is huuuungggggryyy!
  5. You have a 6 hour testing window that depends on what time you reset your CBEFM. (3 hours before set time, and 3 hours after)
    1. CBEFM realllly want your first morning pee. So, if you are a classic BBT charter like me, you might make it your habit to press the m button around the time you temp. But this is a sweet feature, because how many times are you worried about messing up your temp because you got up to pee 2 hours before your temp time? 
    2. You really can test with morning pee. If you find OPK testing difficult because the majority of tests require mid-morning to late afternoon pee, this monitor is for you!
    3. Don't you just hate trying to find a stall to test in at work and figuring out how to sneak your test back to your desk without messing up the reading?
  6. You DO NOT have to wait for the little m light to flash before resetting your cycle.
    1. Although, it is so annoying when it starts to flash a week before you know to expect AF.
    2. Also, you only have 5 days to set your new cycle date. So you can wait up to 4 days after first AF to reset (just keep holding down m button until you see the CD day you want). Otherwise, you miss that cycle or risk it being off if you reset within 7 days after your AF starts.
  7. CBEFMs retain memory of your last 3 cycles (most models, newer models may have different features).
    1. Why is this important? Well, this is what makes a CBEFM more accurate. After your first test cycle, it will adjust the day it asks for your first test stick. So if your last few cycles show a later O date, it will start asking for sticks closer to CD8/9 to prevent you from wasting sticks.
    2. The first day most CBEFM models will ask for testing ranges between CD6 and CD9.
      1. Again, if you regularly O on CD 21-24, you might wait until 10 days before earliest O date if you want to really stretch that box of sticks out 3 cycles. 
    3. You cannot get it to read your test stick before it asks! Don't try. If you don't see a little flashing test stick with an arrow to the right, you will just get an error signal. 
  8. You can only "sorta" read the CBEFM test sticks
    1. No, they are not interchangeable with the CBEFM digital OPKs (unless someone knows differently?)
    2. The lines on the sticks are not the same as a regular OPK. The line closest to the tip away from the wick that picks up pee is your estrogen line.
    3. The line closest to the wick that picks up pee is your LH line.
    4. So, you can look and see if your LH line is darkening, but it may not necessarily be as dark or darker than the estrogen line for Peak.
    5. In my experience, the LH line and Estrogen line will be around the same color at Peak, but sometimes not. I have had so many varying "peak" sticks, that sometimes it looks like a Low stick from the cycle before. *shrugs*
    6.  photo ca208df9-b574-4cc4-bed6-3b25bab5d7f3_zps47716821.jpg
  9. Take out the batteries if you do not intend to use for a few cycles!
    1. If you leave the batteries in, when you turn it back on again, you will get CD99 (because it doesn't go higher than 100 days). This is important because it will seriously skew your cycle memory and make testing weird. 
    2. When you put your batteries back in, the monitor will give you the last CD you were on before you took the batteries out.
      1. I just put batteries back in after maybe a year of testing, and it gave me CD24 or something. 
  10. You can use a CBEFM that has had previous owners*
    1. Please read the cautions under CBEFM FAQ
    2. Please visit my post with picture-by-picture steps of how to reset the CBEFM to clear its memory and start anew.
    3. Also a good idea if you are re-starting a CBEFM after previous pregnancy or months of disuse.

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Motherhood Wanted approved!

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Diana Farrell, MA


Motherhood Wanted approved!