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How To Determine and Track Ovulation
Urine OPK (Ovulation Prediction Kits)
What Are Urine Ovulation Prediction Kits aka OPK's?
Predicting ovulation with OPK's can be a little confusing at first. But with practice and some education on using these they are not too complicated to use. Once you have properly learned to use and interpret ovulation test results you are better able to predict when ovulation is about to occur. Therefore, increasing your chances of becoming pregnant.
An ovulation test is a test that uses a woman's urine to measure the amount of LH or Luteinizing hormone. The body sends a surge of LH to to woman's ovaries. This surge is what gives the ovulation test it's positive result. Once the surge of LH has reached the ovaries a follicle containing a ripe egg bursts releasing the egg into the Fallopian tube. This rupturing of the follicle usually occurs within one to three days from the beginning of the LH surge.
How To Use Urine Ovulation Prediction Kits?
For best results when using ovulation prediction kits please follow the manufacturers instructions.
If you have no idea when you ovulate it is best to purchase a large number of ovulation tests so that you can test every day after menstruation has finished. Do not test with first morning urine as by doing so you may end up with inaccurate results. The best time to test is approximately 2:00 pm. You should also test at approximately the same time every day. So pick a time that you are most likely able to consistently test preferably between 10:00 am and 8:00 pm.
Collect urine in a clean dry specimen container at the chosen time. Dip test strip into the urine sample for the amount of time specified in the manufacturers instructions. Usually between 10-15 seconds.
Lay the test strip on a clean, dry , non-absorbent surface. Leave the test strip for the amount of time described in the manufacturers instructions before interrupting the results.
If you are using a digital ovulation test interpreting the results will be easier than the regular dip sticks. A positive ovulation test result on a non-digital test will have two lines. The test line and the control line. If there is no control line the test is faulty and you should retest with a fresh strip. In order for the result to be positive the test line must be as dark or darker than the control line.
Remember: Two lines on an ovulation test does not necessarily mean a positive result.
After a positive result is determined it is likely that an LH surge is occurring and ovulation should be expected within one to three days. If you are trying to conceive be sure to have intercourse when a positive result is present as once ovulation has occurred there is only a 24 hour window in which the egg can become fertilized.
A woman is fertile 3-5 days leading up to ovulation as sperm can live in the body for a few days. However, once ovulation has occurred a woman is no longer likely to be fertile. If you are trying to conceive it is best to ensure that there is sperm waiting for the egg to be released.
Once you have become more familiar with your cycle and can pinpoint within a few days of ovulation, using ovulation test strips is not necessary to be doing daily. Begin testing 3-4 days before predicted ovulation. If your cycles are not regular you may need to test for a longer period of time to help prevent missing the LH surge.
Digital Urine OPK's
Popular Brands Available
- Clear Blue Digital Ovulation Tests - provides a blank circle when there is no LH surge and a smily face when there is an LH surge.
- First Response Digital Ovulation Tests- provides a no when there is no LH surge and a yes when there is an LH surge.
Non-Digital Urine OPK Dipsticks
Popular Brands Available
- First Response Ovulation Strips
- Answer Ovulation Strips
- Wondfo One Step Ovulation Tests
- Error Proof Test (E.P.T)
Do You Do Anything To Track Ovulation?
Saliva OPK (Ovulation Prediction Kits)
Although not as commonly used as urine ovulation prediction kits. Saliva ovulation prediction kits are also available to help determine when ovulation is occurring.
What Are Saliva OPK's?
As a woman approaches ovulation her saliva begins to produce more salt and estrogen than usual. This causes a "fern" like pattern on a saliva opk. Therefore, these tests work by viewing the changes in your saliva. When a woman is not fertile there will be very little to no ferning viewed on the test. Approximately three to four days prior to ovulation a woman's sample results will begin to show what we call "ferning". Once the test is covered by these marks you are either ovulating or about to ovulate.
Note:It is called ferning because it looks like the leaves of a fern plant. Some women also describe it as looking like snowflakes.
How To Use a Saliva OPK
First you must buy an saliva ovulation test kit. The kit will contain everything you need such as a microscope and slides to view the saliva. Be sure to follow the manufacturers directions. It is best to test saliva first thing in the morning. As putting anything in your mouth, such as food, drink or even smoking can alter the results.
Place a saliva sample on a clean slide. Allow to dry for approximately five to ten minutes. Place slide into the microscope viewer and look for ferning.
For best results use this test everyday. Especially if you are a first time user. So that you can view your saliva's daily changes. By doing so you will better understand what exactly the ferning looks like when you are ovulating.
Remember: When using a saliva opk, ensure that there are no air bubbles in the sample obscuring your view.
Most Common Saliva OPK's
- Maybe Baby
Urine Ovulation Test Strips
Facts About Ovulation and Ovulation Tests
- Saliva opk tests are cheaper in the long run. But are less accurate than urine opks.
- BBT will determine if/when you have already ovulated. Not when you are about to ovulate.
- Digital opk tests are usually easier to use but are more expensive than test strips.
- The woman's egg is only viable for 24 hours.
- Sperm can live in the woman's body for 3-5 days.
- Conceiving works best using the "sperm meets the egg method". As you are most fertile before you actually ovulate.
- OPK tests will tell you when you are about to ovulate.
- OPK's detect LH (luteinizing hormone) and BBT charting changes are due to progesterone.
- Take your BBT at the same time every day.
- Women have a fertile period of about 3-5 days.
- Urine OPK's do not use first morning urine like pregnancy tests do.
Charting You Basal Body Temperature
What is "Charting My Basal Body Temperature"?
Note: Charting your BBT tells you if and when you have ovulated. Not when ovulation is about to occur like opk's.
The easiest way to chart your BBT is to use a website or an app on your phone. However, you can still do it the old fashioned way with a pencil and a piece of paper if you wish to do so. Make sure that you have a decent thermometer that measures your temperature to at least the tenth of a degree. And choose a method you are going to use to take your temperature, such as orally, vaginally, or rectally and continue to use this method.
Your basal body temperature is the temperature of your body at rest. Ensure that you are getting at least four hours of sleep before checking your BBT. For best results take your temperature before getting out of bed. As movement, food or drink can change your body temperature. Record this temperature.
It is best to take your temperature at approximately the same time every day. Some women set an alarm to ensure they are getting the most accurate results possible. Sleeping in a few more hours than usual can actually raise your body temperature slightly.
Do this every day of your cycle. Before you ovulate your BBT will be at least 0.3 degrees Celsius (or 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than after you have ovulated (this is called the follicular phase). Of course there are other factors that may cause your temperature to rise or fall such as too hot or cold in your room, sleeping with your mouth open, illness, ect. Therefore, your chart likely will not look "perfect".
This temperature rise is due to the progesterone produced after ovulation. Your temperature will rise and stay up for several days (this is called your luteal phase). Quite often your temperature will then drop to pre-ovulation temperature just before or right on the day of menstruation.
What Kind of Thermometer Do I Use?
To make things easier and probably a little more expensive you can purchase what is called a "basal body thermometer". These thermometers are digital and will read up to the tenth or hundredth degree.
Most thermometers can be used orally, vaginally or rectally. However, once you pick a method of checking your temperature be sure to stick to that same method every day.
Note: A regular digital thermometer will likely be accurate enough for charting ovulation.
Websites To Help You Record Your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
How Do I Read The Results of My BBT Chart?
By charting your basal body temperature you will see mainly lower temperatures during your follicular phase. Possibly with the odd temperature spike or drop. The day of ovulation is the last low temperature. After you have ovulated your temperature will then rise higher than it has been and you will enter your luteal phase. These high temperatures must remain high for at least three days to determine whether or not ovulation has occurred.