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How to use an ovulation kit

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 07, 2021

Trying to conceive and confused about what is the best time of the month to get pregnant successfully? As life gets more & more hectic and stressful for people, the incidence of subfertility and difficulty in conceiving has been increasing rapidly. The busy lives make it difficult for people to have regular & frequent intercourse and as such, the chances of conceiving in a given month have become much lesser as compared to the previous decades.

Consequently,once a couple starts to plan for pregnancy, the first question that comes to mind is –‘What is the best time of the month to have intercourse if we have to maximize our chances of getting pregnant ? ‘ or ‘How can we improve our chances of getting pregnant soon?’

Well, a large part of the fertility process may be beyond anybody’s control, but the one thing that can be regulated is the timing of the intercourse. And the best time to have intercourse if you are trying to conceive lasts from about 4-5 days prior to ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary ) to 24 hours after ovulation. There are many ways to find out the time when you are ovulating and most of them rely on the physical signs of the body which may be misinterpreted at times. However, objective methods like using an ovulation kit or getting an ultrasound follicular monitoring can predict very accurately when the ovulation is happening. So you can use the physical signs like:

  • Increased cervical mucus around the time of ovulation.
  • Increased basal body temperature just before ovulation.
  • Increased libido.
  • Slight pain in lower abdomen & pelvis around ovulation.
  • Increased breast tenderness.

However, sometimes the physical signs may not be very evident or maybe missed altogether. In such cases, using a reliable, objective method is a more accurate way of predicting ovulation & increasing your chances of conception in that month. For this, one may depend upon either blood tests to estimate the various hormones like progesterone levels, follow the growth & release of the egg by frequent ultrasound scans, or simply check the urine sample through the ovulation kit.

Many of you must have heard of an ovulation kit. But how many of you know how to use it? Or what is the importance of this test? So here we discuss all about ovulation and the ovulation kit.

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the process through which one or more eggs are released from your ovaries every month. The largest egg is sucked into the fallopian tube after being pushed out into the pelvic cavity by the ovary.

Each unfertilized egg has a limited lifespan of 12 to 24 hours after being released from the ovary. A pregnancy can happen only if the egg is fertilized by a sperm within this lifespan of 12-24 hours after ovulation. On the other hand, the sperms can survive up to 4-5 days once they are released into the genital tract of a woman.

So you can conceive if you have had sex within 4-5 days prior to ovulation & extending up to 24 hours after ovulation. Each month, you have a tiny window of opportunity to conceive, usually around six days. So, knowing when you're ovulating and having regular intercourse around those days can help you get pregnant sooner.

When does ovulation occur?

In women who have an average 28-day menstrual cycle, ovulation or release of eggs usually occurs 14 days before your next period begins. Often, ovulation occurs four days before or after the menstrual cycle's midpoint in most women. Generally speaking, the duration from ovulation to the onset of the next period is fixed at 14-15 days and you can calculate this date by counting back 14 days from your date of the next expected period.

It can be a bit confusing, so it is recommended to use a menstrual calendar to track the length and midpoint of your cycle. However, ovulation can be erratic in women who have irregular menstrual cycles and the window of uncertainty is wider in them.

Our body also gives out a few hints which can tell us when we are approaching ovulation. At some point during the month, do you notice an increase in the clear and wet secretion from your vagina? Well, this occurs just before you start ovulating. The cervical mucus thickens, becomes hazy, and lesser in amount soon after ovulation. There will also be a slight increase in your resting body temperature when you ovulate.

What is an Ovulation Kit?

Before we jump into how an ovulation kit works, let us give you a small background check. Every month, our pituitary gland releases a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) in varying amounts. A sharp rise in the production of this hormone gives a signal to our ovaries for releasing an egg. This rise in LH production by the Pituitary is called the LH surge and it happens a day or two prior to the actual ovulation.

The luteinizing hormone (LH) surge that occurs before an egg is released is detected in urine by an ovulation kit. You can use this surge to predict when you should have sex to enhance your chances of becoming pregnant. In addition, the tests will tell you when your body is approaching the peak of its menstrual cycle.

So, an ovulation kit contains multiple strips for testing your urine sample that will indicate whether you are about to ovulate or not.

The right time to use an ovulation kit

So, should you take the ovulation test any time and any day of the month? No. There is a method to this. The LH surge occurs in your body approximately 24-48 hours before ovulation. However, predicting the LH correctly is a bit tricky. The surge can occur sooner in some, while it may be short-lived, lasting barely 10 hours in some people. Start testing three to five days before your predicted day of ovulation. Continue testing for at least six days or till as long as you notice a positive test indicating the LH surge in urine.

Since the increased level of LH may be short-lived in some women, it is recommended to take the test twice a day with a gap of at least ten hours before each test.

How to use the ovulation kit?

The ovulation kit is pretty simple to use. It contains multiple test strips which have an indicator line that changes colour on exposure to LH in urine. The strips have a small segment that needs to be either dipped in a urine sample or you can use a dropper to add the urine sample on the strip/kit.

Have you ever used a home-based pregnancy test kit? The ovulation kits are very similar to that. Read your ovulation prediction kit's directions carefully.

  • Remove the ovulation kit from the box.
  • With the help of the dropper provided, put a few drops of your urine in the small well at the specified end of the test strip.
  • You can also collect your urine in a clean container and dip the tip of the test strip in it or hold the tip of the test strip in your urine stream.
  • Allow five minutes to pass.

Interpreting the results:

  • The ovulation test displays lines, one of which is for control (C). This control line always darkens and changes colour on exposure to urine, irrespective of the LH levels in the urine sample. It is only meant to provide you with an indicator to compare the test line.
  • If you just get a single pink line, as in C, you are not ovulating. You can retake the test the following day or after 10-12 hours.
  • The test line ( T) turns pink only if the urine sample contains a sufficient amount of LH in it. So you get two pink lines- one for control (C) and one for the test (T).
  • You are expected to ovulate within the next 24-48 hours if you see two pink lines in C and T. So, plan your unprotected intercourse accordingly.
  • The test is invalid if you don’t see any lines in either C or T.

Points to remember:

  • The test becomes invalid after ten minutes.
  • It is best to carry out this test in the afternoon.

When to use this kit in case of irregular periods?

Specific signals given out by our body can help us predict our fertile days. You can find out a lot about your ovulation by noticing your cervical mucus. Ovulation could be on the way if you start to observe a more slippery discharge that resembles an egg white. This is your queue to start testing!

Another option is to start using the test strips somewhere midway of your menstrual cycle & keep testing daily till you get a positive report indicating LH surge.

How accurate is this test?

Just like us, the ovulation kits aren’t without flaws. It is possible to get false positives or constant negatives. In such cases, your doctor can guide you to get Ultrasound done for follicular monitoring or suggest other blood tests to confirm ovulation. Some of the reasons for inaccurate tests could be

  • Failure to release eggs by the ovaries.
  • Excess of luteinizing hormones.
  • Other ovulatory problems.

Don’t be disheartened. The good news is that when used properly, an ovulation kit can detect LH in urine with a 99% accuracy rate.

Maitri Woman

Team Maitri

Dec 07, 2021

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