There are many factors involved in maximizing your chances of conception, and knowing when to take an ovulation test is one of them.
What is an ovulation test and do I need one?
An ovulation test, also referred to as an ovulation predictor kit (OPK), is a test that you can take at home to determine whether you are ovulating and in the most fertile part of your menstrual cycle.
Generally, for the average person, there is no need to closely monitor your ovulation status via ovulation tests. However, ovulation testing becomes very useful when you start planning for pregnancy.
When to take an ovulation test
If you want to maximize your chances of conceiving, it’s important to take an ovulation test to determine when you’re ovulating so that you can plan for sexual intercourse with your partner around this time of your menstrual cycle when you’re most fertile.
Knowing specifically when to take an ovulation test is important for making your pregnancy journey as efficient as possible.
In terms of the actual timing of taking an ovulation test, it’s best to aim for 10 to 14 days after starting your period, provided that your menstrual cycle is around 28 days.
Also, since the best time to take an ovulation test is when your urine and LH levels are more concentrated, try not to drink a lot of fluids two hours prior to testing.
How does an ovulation test work?
An ovulation test is used to let you know when you’re most likely to be fertile.
Mainly, it works by measuring certain hormones in your urine that, if elevated, indicates that you’re about to ovulate. If you have sexual intercourse near the time that you’re ovulating, you will maximize your chances of conceiving a baby.
Depending on the type of ovulation test that you choose, the ovulation test kit may detect luteinizing hormone (LH) or estrone-3-glucuronide (E3G) in your urine.
A rise in either of these hormones tells you that you are starting to ovulate and your chances of pregnancy are highest at this time.
In addition to using ovulation test kits, ovulation can also be detected by methods involving tracking basal body temperature (BBT) patterns, observing cervical mucus changes, blood tests, transvaginal ultrasounds, or endometrial biopsies.
Positive ovulation test
If your ovulation test is positive, it means that the test kit you’re using sensed a surge in LH in your urine and that ovulation is about to begin.
If you’re trying to conceive, you should plan to have sexual intercourse with your partner around this time.
However, you should note that getting a positive ovulation test does not always mean that you are ovulating.
This is because some women have several LH surges or higher baseline levels of LH throughout their menstrual cycles.
You should be prepared to receive a few of these “false positive” ovulation tests especially if you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), recently reached menopause, or are currently taking certain fertility drugs such as clomiphene.
Negative ovulation test
A negative ovulation test result means that the test did not detect an LH surge, which indicates that ovulation has not occurred.
So if you’re trying to get pregnant and receive a negative ovulation test result, assuming that your ovulation test kit is working properly, there’s probably no need to rush into sexual intercourse with your partner just yet.
At the same time, you should be aware that your ovulation test can come back negative even if you’re ovulating.
This type of test failure is known as a “false negative” ovulation test result and means that it’s possible to get pregnant despite getting a negative ovulation test.
You can receive a false negative ovulation test result for several reasons.
For example, you might get a false negative if your urine is diluted. In that case, you might want to avoid drinking lots of fluids before you test.
Also, a manufacturing defect in your ovulation test kit can also lead to a false negative result. If that occurs, you can try repeating the test or trying a different ovulation test kit.
Are ovulation tests accurate?
When used correctly, ovulation predictor kits (like our Eveline digital OPK) have an accuracy rate of up to 99% in detecting LH levels in the urine.
Since ovulation is triggered by an increase in LH, having an accurate picture of whether an LH surge has occurred can offer strong clues as to how fertile you are at that moment.
Overall, ovulation test kits are accurate in the sense that they can tell you whether there is an LH surge occurring in your body.
However, what these tests cannot confirm is whether ovulation will actually occur following the LH surge.
How do I use ovulation tests with an irregular cycle?
If your period patterns are abnormal or don’t follow the general 28-day menstrual cycle, consult with your doctor on how to use ovulation tests for irregular cycles.
In general, try going by your shortest cycle in the past 6 months to give an idea as to when you might ovulate in your current cycle.
You should then aim to start ovulation testing 3 days prior to expected ovulation or conduct a consistent ovulation test every day after your period ends until you detect LH surge in this menstrual cycle.
It can be challenging to know when to take an ovulation test if you have irregular cycles. To better pinpoint when you might be ovulating, and hence when to start ovulation testing, it can be very helpful to use an ovulation tracker.
By using the Eveline digital OPK along with the Eveline app (iOS, android), you can perform ovulation testing while tracking and monitoring your ovulation results. It can be especially beneficial to boost your chances of getting pregnant.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.