If you are trying to get pregnant and looking to do things by the book, then you must have come across the idea of using an ovulation kit.
You see it in stores right next to pregnancy tests and they pretty much all look the same. But do you know what it is, how it works, and how necessary it is for you? When should you use one and just how accurate is it?
These are only some of the questions women trying to conceive ask themselves. We'll try to answer them and see if we can shed some light on whether or not you should give it a try as well.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING OVULATION?
As you probably know, Ovulation is the most fertile period of
A woman’s cycle. This is the time when the ovary releases an egg that then goes through your fallopian tubes, down to the uterus where it can be fertilized by sperm.
Therefore, this is technically the only time in a month when you can get pregnant. The fertility window can last between two and six days, and intercourse should be had in that time. This is why it is important to know when you are ovulating.
HOW DO OVULATION KITS WORK?
Once you understand what the ovulation process is about, you get an idea of when to try for a baby. But then, how do ovulation kits work?
An ovulation predictor will look for other detectable signs of ovulation, like a surge in the luteinizing hormone (LH) which causes ovulation. It happens one or two days before ovulation, and it is detectable in urine. Your most fertile moment is between the beginning of the surge and right up to the time when the egg is released.
Another type of ovulation predictor kit is the salivary ferning kit that shows an increase in the salt content of your saliva. As it dries, the salt crystallizes in the shape of a fern. The kit itself consists of a pocket-sized microscope.
HOW TO USE AN OVULATION KIT
Thankfully, regardless of the type of test, you choose all kits to come with instructions. They all have very clear specifications, yet you will find some easier to use than others.
Ovulation strips that detect the LH surge can work by either keeping them under the urine stream or by inserting them in the urine you have collected in a clean receptacle. Instructions will vary from one brand to another. So will the display of results.
There are brands where you must compare a line with a test line to get your results. The darker the line,
The closer you are to confirmation that you are ovulating. In some cases, these tests can be confusing.
Another option would be to get a digital reader that interprets the results of the pee strip. The display is clear and conclusive, and you can use it on several strips in the same pack. Some of these readers have developed into fancy little gadgets you can depend on.
This fertility monitor has come a long way from using disposable pee sticks.
Ferning kits, on the other hand, come in the shape or a lipstick and they can be used throughout the menstrual cycle. The only thing you need to make sure to do is to use them 2-3 hours after you have eaten, drank, smoked or brushed your teeth. Otherwise, everything can affect the level of salt in your saliva.
- Stores up to 6 cycles of your personal information which you can review and share with your doctor
- Proven to increase the chances of getting pregnant by 82% in the first cycle of use(1)
- Easy to use touch screen monitor
- Detects more fertile days than traditional ovulation tests(2) for more opportunities to get pregnant
- The only home Monitor that accurately tracks 2 key fertility hormones to typically identify up to 6 fertile days., Now with intuitive touch screen., The most advanced method to help you maximize your chances of getting pregnant naturally.
HOW ACCURATE ARE OVULATION KITS?
For a healthy woman in the prime of her reproductive years, they will be very accurate. On the other hand, if your menstrual cycle is very irregular or if you have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) the OPK test might not be as conclusive.
How to use an ovulation kit when you have PCOS
The basic difference between polycystic and normal ovaries is that although the polycystic ovaries contain many small antral follicles with eggs in them, the follicles do not develop and mature properly - so there is no ovulation. (source)
On the other hand, due to the hormonal imbalance caused by the PCOS, all tests will detect a small false peak in LH. However, this happens although there is no ovulation to predict.
The same goes for increased quantities of salt in your saliva. This is a situation, not even the best ovulation kit can go around. But while finding your ovulation window may be a bit of a challenge with PCOS, it is not impossible after the right treatment.
When to use an ovulation kit
Although a menstrual cycle is generally thought to last 28 days, this is not a rule. Your period can last anywhere from 21 and 39 days. Write down the first day of your period, then count the days until your next. Do this for several months, and you will detect a pattern.
Once you know the length of your cycle, you also know when to use an ovulation kit. Here are the days to begin testing for each instance.
Your Cycle Length
Day to Begin Testing
But what do you do if your menstrual cycle is irregular? A clear indication of ovulation is the build-up of cervical mucus or a slight pain in either of your ovaries. Start there with an ovulation kit, then test daily for five to seven days.
Check even longer if you need to get a clearer idea of what is going on.
If you have the time, do a calendar of all test results over two, or three months. There might be a pattern you are simply not aware of, like a longer menstrual cycle or cycles during with you do not ovulate.
WHY USE AN OVULATION KIT?
You may start trying for a baby without being sure whether every intercourse can lead to pregnancy. This is mainly because you did not properly keep track of the length of your menstrual cycle and you have no indication of when your ovulation window is.
So unless you want to take your time and actually be surprised yourself, you should opt for monitoring what is going on inside your body. Take the Clearblue tests for example. Its ovulation kit offer is very wide, and their monitors are among the most reliable and accurate on the market.