Ovulation tests are used by many couples to try and maximise their chances of conceiving a baby. Ovulation marks the peak fertility time and the chances of conceiving are much higher than at other times in the cycle.
What happens during ovulation?
Ovulation is the stage of the menstrual cycle when the egg is released from a follicle in the ovary. Usually, ovulation occurs on day 14 of the 28 day cycle although this may different according to the individual. Once the egg has been released it can be fertilised within the next 12-48 hours and then it starts to deteriorate. The chances of conception are much higher during this 48 hour period.
Sometimes ovulation can be delayed; this may occur as a result of:
- Poor diet
- An increase in physical activity
Sperm can survive in the body for up to 5 days so it is possible to become pregnant for the period of between 5 days before ovulation to 48 hours after ovulation.
How do ovulation tests work?
Ovulation tests work by monitoring the levels of LH (luteinising hormone) in the urine; LH is always present in the urine but levels are higher before ovulation; this is known as the LH surge. The chances of conception are higher for 36 hours after the LH surge.
What is LH?
Luteinising hormone (also known as LH) is a hormone which is found in both males and females. In females, LH is responsible for triggering ovulation, where the mature egg is released. LH also controls the length of the menstrual cycle and the sequence of events during the cycle. In males, LH is responsible for encouraging the testes to produce androgen.
When should I take the ovulation test?
To work out when to start testing you need to find out the length of your menstrual cycle; most women have a 28 day cycle but some may have shorter or longer cycles. Once you have identified how long your cycle is you can work out your testing start date. If you have a 28 day cycle you should start testing on day 12 of the cycle.
You should try to do the test at the same time each day and it is best to try and do the test at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon.
Why do people use ovulation tests?
Most people use ovulation tests when they are planning to conceive a child and they have had difficulties getting pregnant. In many cases, couples fail to conceive because they are not having intercourse on the right days of the cycle. Using an ovulation test will tell you when you are at your most fertile and this will increase the chances of conceiving significantly.
When is the best time to have sexual intercourse if the ovulation test is positive?
Fertility is at its highest for 36 hours after the LH surge, which triggers ovulation so it is best to have regular sex during this period of time; this will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Pregnancy Tests Guide
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- How accurate are home pregnancy tests?
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- Increasing the chances of getting pregnant
- Pregnancy Tests FAQ
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