An Honest Review of Oura Ring for Charting Temperature and Cycle Tracking

It’s an exciting time in the world of femtech with multiple products being developed for taking our overnight temperature.

Oura Ring is a new player in fertility awareness. Oura Ring partnered with Natural Cycles, a temperature-only (with optional LH) fertility awareness based method. As of 2022, the ring is approved for use with syncing with Natural Cycles.

Get the sizing kit and don’t make my mistake of ordering the ring size you usually wear 😂

As a traditional charter of my cycle, I wanted to see if Oura Ring would be a good fit as a cross-check to help confirm ovulation without syncing to Natural Cycles.

After five cycles of use and comparisons to other thermometers, I am confident in saying that Oura Ring can be used as sympto-thermal method cross check with some tweaking and conversions. Read on if you would like to see examples and my method of conversion in order to avoid paying that extra fee to Natural Cycles.

First and foremost, you should know that no wearable has current been studied for traditional fertility awareness sympto-thermal methods. Even Natural Cycles has only done a small study of 40 charters to prove that the ring is equivalent to old-school basal body temperature. They found that it mostly lined up, albeit that the Oura temperature often confirmed one day sooner.

If you are charting to avoid pregnancy and reading this article, I highly recommend cross-checking with cervical mucus, cervical position, and/or urinary hormones in addition to the Ring. I do NOT recommend using the Ring alone to avoid pregnancy. If you are seriously avoiding, you should use at least one of the signs mentioned above and wait until those rules are met before having unprotected sex. You should cross-check with oral or vaginal temperatures for a minimum of 2-3 cycles before relying on Oura to confirm ovulation.

We just don’t have the kind of evidence necessary for me to recommend using Oura without other fertility signs, particularly for those strictly avoiding a pregnancy. If you are charting to conceive, then this Ring is perfectly acceptable for confirming you are in your luteal phase.

VIEW FROM THE OURA RING PERIOD PREDICTION SCREEN. OURA will predict menstruation based on body temperature and cycle dates.

Oura Ring is worn 24/7 for full use of its features. Overnight, it detects your sleep and a temperature is determined at this time. Your temperature is displayed when you sync Oura to the app in the morning as a +/- deviation from baseline, as shown in the photo above.

To chart your temperature in an app without Natural Cycles, you will need to choose a baseline. Remember, when we are charting our cycles, we are pattern making. You will need to translate the deviation to the chart so that you can see a pattern of lower and higher temperatures. I chose 97 degrees Fahrenheit as my baseline because it is a whole number that falls in the middle of most fertility awareness charts.

On Day 17, my deviation was -.6 F on Oura. I subtracted -.6F from 97F and got 96.4. That is the temperature I then chart. On Day 18, my deviation was +.3F on Oura. I added .3F to 97F and charted 97.3F on my chart. This formula allows me to see the pattern on a standard chart from Read Your Body.

Traditional methods call for two decimal points. However, this isn’t necessary to see a pattern with ring temperature. Finger temperature tends to show larger temperature shifts than standard waking body temperature taken at the mouth.

If you want to see two decimal places, you must initially purchase a subscription with Natural Cycles. However, it still appears to sync and show two decimals even after the subscription expires as of 12/13/2022. This may be a glitch, so I won’t guarantee it works for you.

The official statement from Oura is that you shouldn’t compare it to other thermometers or use it without Natural Cycles. The reason they say not to compare it is because all thermometers will give different results. As charters, we are smart enough to know that we are looking for patterns and not the exact same result. The reason that they say to use it with Natural Cycles is likely because of the paid partnership as well as to avoid liability for unintended pregnancies. I’d like to say again that using Oura for a traditional FAM without Natural Cycles only has case study level evidence and is not currently endorsed by any organizations. Consider this when choosing it!

Two decimal plays after syncing with Natural Cycles.

What else does Oura ring do that can help me track my cycle health?

  • Sleep information (quality, amount, phases, disturbance)
  • Steps, exercise, calories
  • Meditation and winding down for sleep
  • Stress levels, illness
  • Resting heart rate and sleeping heart rate
  • Rest mode feature. If you have painful periods or are debilitated by any illness, Oura can be informed that you are sick or unwell and your statistics on it will change.
Resting heart rate changes with the phases of the cycle, rising in the fertile window and then again after ovulation. This can be a useful extra sign for cycle tracking. Read my other article on RHR.

What are the details?

  • It is initially approximately $300 USD depending on the model and time of year.
  • It is free to the use the app for the first 6 months, and then it is $5.99 USD per month. I’ve heard some people say they have used without subscribing, but can’t say if temperature feature is available without paying.
  • The battery life is about 5-7 days with all day use and takes about 30 minutes to fully charge.

You can use my link for $50 USD off. This link only works for five people. I will periodically replace the link once a new one becomes available.

For me, the greatest selling point for this ring is NEVER having to remember taking your temperature again. I’m an adult with a busy life and this makes charting so much easier for me. I charge my ring once a week and otherwise forget about it. This is definitely my current favorite femtech for charting your cycle.

6 Cycle Comparison: Marquette Versus Billings Versus DOT Fertile Windows

Have you ever been curious what your fertile window would look like in multiple methods?

In this blog, I show 6 cycles with various fertility signs and method interpretation including: the sympto-thermal method (Sensiplan rules), Marquette method, the Billings Ovulation Method, and DOT (a calendar method that was recently purchased by Clue app and is a new FDA approved birth control). I chose to include representation for only studied methods of fertility awareness: sympto-thermal, sympto-hormonal, mucus-only, and calendar method.

All charts are from the Read Your Body app, a flexible app for all methods that I highly recommend!

Some things to know before reading:

  • Marquette allows sex any time of day within their rules. My calculation rule lasts until the end of day 7.
  • Sympto-thermal method allows sex any time of day during first 5 days of menstruation, but the first safe day in the luteal phase must be used in the evening. My calculation rule is day 5.
  • Billings Ovulation Method allows sex in the evenings only and on rotated days in the pre-ovulatory time of the cycle. Days of bleeding where mucus cannot be observed are not allowed. However, since you can have sex any time of day post-ovulation with Billings, sometimes cycle day 1 is available if you have sex before bleeding occurs.
  • DOT allows sex any time of day within their rules. It automatically opens my window on day 7.

Cycle 53

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 8 days

Sympto-thermal: 12 days

Marquette: 12 days

DOT: 12 days

General remarks: This is an extremely standard cycle in length and mucus patch (the average person will have a 5 to 6 day mucus patch when charting). I believe this is a great example of what methods would look like for someone of the average cycle length.

Cycle 54

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 9 days

Sympto-thermal: 21 days

Marquette: 15 days

DOT: 12 days

General comments: My average coverline is 96.8 to 97.0, so regardless of earlier high temperatures and some illness I felt confident marking this coverline and temperature shift. Due to continous long, clear-ish mucus, my sympto-thermal peak was extremely delayed. Billings is a sensation focused method so I was able to mark my peak at an earlier time and have less expected abstinence.

DOT gave me a very risky day on this one. It is possible I could have been ovulating near the safe day. However, that would have only left 9 to 10 days for implantation and I had spotting, so whether this truly could have ended in pregnancy is up in the air. Even with well-timed sex, pregnancy will not always occur.

Cycle 55

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 6 days

Sympto-thermal: 12 days

Marquette: 12 days

DOT: 12 days

General comments: This small fertile window in Billings might look scary to some, but it is not possible to get pregnant when the cervical mucus plug is truly closed. I have about one cycle like this every 13 cycles. I was also using the Kegg device during this cycle which is placed internally and reads electrolyte levels to determine the fertile window. It gave me the same 3 day dip for a fertile window, so I feel even more confident that those days were truly dry. I am missing temperatures on this one because my thermometer glitched and would not give me readings on these days. Sex day 1 was allowed because menstruation didn’t start until 5pm.

Cycle 56

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 8 days

Marquette: 11 days

DOT: 12 days

General Comment: This was an extremely heavy period so I had no period days available in Billings. Even though the other methods gave me available days, I couldn’t have used them due to the pain, so ultimately the other methods didn’t really help out on more safe days.

Cycle 57

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 10 days

Marquette: 14 days

DOT: 12 days

Cycle 58

Consecutive Fertile Window for Expected Abstinence:

Billings: 9 days

Marquette: 11 days

DOT: 12 days

General Comments: Marquette monitor missed my peak on this cycle. It misses peak on up to 10% of cycles. I relied on meeting LH rules instead of the monitor. Sex day 1 was allowed because menstruation didnt start until 1pm.

Reflecting on What’s Best for Me

I’m currently on cycle 59 charting, and I have tried a ton of methods. Right now, my ideal method is Billings and LH tests as a bonus marker.

While it may appear that Billings gives less safe days in some instances, what is most important to me is having the smallest consecutive fertile window. Having less expected abstinence actually makes me more likely to follow the rules. I was completely unsatisfied with only being allowed period sex in the sympto-thermal method because I have period pain issues. That means that I basically had no safe days at all in reality before ovulation with sympto-thermal.

I originally felt very enthusiastic about Marquette method. However, after 6 cycles of using the Clearblue Fertility Monitor, I realized that it always caught my LH surge after the cheap LH tests. In addition, it missing my peak even once is frustrating for the cost of the product. For that reason, I have decided to stop using the monitor when I run out of tests. I can use a 15 cent LH test and get the period prediction aspect (LH is my most steady indicator).

The DOT app tends to give me a risky cycle whenever I ovulate late and have a shorter luteal phase. I do not rely on this for pregnancy prevention. Overall though, DOT has not given me many risky ways. I use it for long-term period prediction, and it is the most accurate period predictor I’ve ever used for planning months in advance.

What to Consider Before Switching Methods

1. Why are you unsatisfied with your current method? Is it the amount of safe days, or is it the routine that you don’t like?

2. Do you have medical needs that could be addressed by another method?

Sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but if you are like me and can’t have period sex or don’t want to have period sex, methods like Billings without calculation rules will almost always include more safe days if you are dedicated enough to learn the method and chart it accurately.

Folks in irregular cycles like in postpartum time or with PCOS may benefit from more flexible methods without calculation rules

*DISCLAIMER: DO NOT TRY TO LEARN FROM MY CHARTS. MY CHARTS ARE NOT YOUR CHARTS.