Whether you’re having trouble conceiving or just want to get pregnant quickly, an ovulation test can help you pinpoint the best time to have sex. Sometimes called ovulation kits or fertility monitors, these tests will maximize your chances of getting pregnant.
If this is your first time using a kit or monitor, you may not know what to expect or how the whole thing works. Here are 10 things you should know about ovulation tests:
Table of Contents
- 10 Truths about Ovulation Tests
- 1. Ovulation Kits Should Be Used When You See a Buildup of Cervical
- 2. Fertility Monitors Look for the Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- 3. A Positive Ovulation Test Is Your Cue to Get Busy
- 4. Ovulation Tests Are Highly Accurate
- 5. Even With Ovulation Kits, Getting Pregnant Can Take Time
- 6. Certain Medications Can Affect Test Results
- 7. Ovulation Tests Are Not a Form of Contraception
- 8. Testing is Easy
- 9. Wait Until Your Missed Period to Take a Pregnancy Test
- 10. Be Patient and Consistent
10 Truths about Ovulation Tests
1. Ovulation Kits Should Be Used When You See a Buildup of Cervical
Ovulation tests help you understand when you’re most fertile, but knowing when to test can be difficult – especially if your cycle is irregular. To make matters worse, some kits only come with a handful of tests.
The best time to start testing is when you notice a buildup of cervical mucus. The mucus should be clear or white and sticky, like egg whites.
Most tests can be taken at any time of the day, but some suggest taking it first thing in the morning. Ideally, you want to take the test at the same time every day and minimize your liquid intake for about four hours before testing.
2. Fertility Monitors Look for the Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
An ovulation test will be looking for high levels of LH in the urine. This hormone is always present in your urine, but levels surge just before ovulation. In fact, LH is what triggers ovulation, the most fertile time of your monthly cycle.
3. A Positive Ovulation Test Is Your Cue to Get Busy
Once you finally get that positive result on your ovulation test, it’s time to get busy – literally. A positive result means you’ll likely be ovulating within the next 12-72 hours.
To maximize your chances of getting pregnant, have sex the day you get the positive result and for three days afterward. Ovulation typically occurs one or two days after your LH levels spike, so having sex for three days after the positive test will greatly improve your chances of getting pregnant.
4. Ovulation Tests Are Highly Accurate
When taken properly, ovulation kits are highly accurate – 99% to be exact – at detecting spikes in LH levels just before ovulation.
With that said, the test cannot accurately confirm whether ovulation actually occurs a day or two later. There are some women who see spikes in LH levels and never release an egg. This is a condition known as LUFS (Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome).
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) will sometimes see small spikes in LH levels before levels fully peak, which can throw off your timing for intercourse.
5. Even With Ovulation Kits, Getting Pregnant Can Take Time
You’re getting positive ovulation tests, you’re having sex at the right time, but you’re still not pregnant. What’s going on?
It’s important to remember that it can take a healthy couple up to 12 months to get pregnant – without an ovulation kit.
Having sex during your most fertile time maximizes your chances of getting pregnant, but there are many other factors that can affect your ability to conceive.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months and have not seen success, consult with your doctor. Let your physician know that you’ve been using ovulation tests, so he or she can better identify the problem.
6. Certain Medications Can Affect Test Results
There are certain medications and conditions that may skew your test results. You may get inaccurate results if:
- You’re pregnant right now
- You were recently pregnant
- You’re in menopause
Certain medications can also affect your ovulation test results, including:
- hCG injections
- Clomiphene citrate
Hormonal contraceptives may also skew the results. If you’ve stopped taking birth control, talk to your doctor about when to start trying to get pregnant. It will take your body a few months to return to its normal cycle, so be patient and wait for your menstrual cycle to normalize before testing and trying to get pregnant.
7. Ovulation Tests Are Not a Form of Contraception
While ovulation kits are highly accurate at predicting ovulation, they should not be used as a way to avoid pregnancy.
These tests can only detect the LH spike that happens 24-48 hours before ovulation occurs. Sperm can live for up to five days in the body, so it’s possible to still get pregnant if you have intercourse before the surge in LH levels.
Always use a proven form of contraception (e.g. birth control pills or a condom) if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy.
8. Testing is Easy
Ovulation kits are easy to use. You’ll have two options: a test that requires you to pee in a cup and placing a strip in the urine, or a midstream kit. Midstream kits are the most common type, and they can be found in any drugstore.
When looking at the test, you should see a control line, which lets you know that the test is working properly. This line will appear whether you’re ovulating or not.
If the test is negative, you will not see an additional line. If the results are positive, you should see a test line. The line should be bold, or at least bolder than the control line.
Be sure to check the insert that’s included with the test for examples of positive and negative results.
9. Wait Until Your Missed Period to Take a Pregnancy Test
Your ovulation test was positive. You and your partner had sex on all the right days. You know you’re pregnant – you can feel it! When you can start testing for pregnancy?
While you may be excited to find out if there’s a bun in the oven, you need to wait until after your missed period to start testing for pregnancy. Implantation and a spike in pregnancy hormones take time. Pregnancy tests detect the hCG pregnancy hormone, but it can take a week or two for levels to build up in the body.
If you test too early and you are pregnant, you may wind up with a false negative result.
There are early detection tests, but generally, it’s best to wait until at least one day after your missed period. By this time, your body will have had enough time to build up hCG levels.
10. Be Patient and Consistent
If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, you may be feeling frustrated and discouraged. Even with the help of an ovulation test, you may still have trouble conceiving. But it’s important to be patient and consistent with your testing efforts. Make sure that you’re testing at the same time every day, and do your best to destress. Stress can make it difficult to get pregnant, especially if you’re stressing about getting pregnant.
If you’ve been tracking your ovulation for several months and still have not gotten pregnant, it may be time to see your doctor. Your physician can help determine the underlying cause and recommend treatments to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
Ovulation tests are a great way to predict when you’ll be ovulating to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. Many women also combine these tests with basal body temperature charts to accurately determine when ovulation occurs and to time intercourse appropriately. Use whichever method works best for you, and remember to have fun.