Find your most fertile days: This is when to take an ovulation test

When it comes to conceiving, knowing your menstrual cycle and fertile window is essential.
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Kaitlyn Wilson
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May 17, 2024
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When Should You Take an Ovulation Test? | Kin Fertility
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When it comes to conceiving, knowing your menstrual cycle and fertile window is essential. But, it can be hard to track at times.

The good news is that you don't need to rely on the moon or become an Excel wizard to track your ovulation. Enter: ovulation tests.

Ovulation tests are designed to predict ovulation and they help take a lot of the guesswork out of trying to get pregnant. But, as with all things, timing is everything; there is no sense in taking ovulation tests at random.

Accurately predicting ovulation relies on testing at the correct time in your menstrual cycle. This might sound complicated, so we've compiled everything you need to know about when to take an ovulation test and how to find your fertile days.

Why do people use ovulation tests?

Did you know there are only a few days each month when it is possible to fall pregnant? Yep, there are about 6 days that you can actually get pregnant every single month.

Your fertile window is the days before ovulation as well as the day of ovulation and ovulation tests can help you discover this window [1].

If used correctly, an ovulation predictor test can be 99% effective in detecting ovulation, which means you will be more likely to get pregnant if you have sex around this time.

Trying to conceive can feel like an imperfect science but ovulation predictor kits, coupled with timed intercourse, can help make this journey slightly more straightforward.

When should you start testing for ovulation?

If you're wondering when to start ovulation tests, there is no hard and fast rule about when women ovulate and cycle lengths vary from person to person.

A 'typical' cycle lasts for around 28 days, and ovulation occurs between days 12 and 14. So, generally speaking, the best time to take an ovulation test is on day 10 or 11 of your cycle [2].

But, as most women know, menstrual cycles are anything but typical, often rebelling and playing by their own rules and it can be difficult to track your period.

Irregular cycles can be caused by a number of things, such as birth control pills, certain medications, stress and diet.

Knowing when to take an ovulation test after a period is tricky. To find the best time for you to test, we suggest working out your ovulation cycle.

This can also be found via your ovulation test results. To discover your ovulation cycle, we suggest you begin testing the day after your period. You can do this for a few months to discover your ovulation pattern.

There are a number of ovulation predictor kits on the market, and all of them have different instructions, but knowing your cycle will ensure you get the most accurate results possible.

You can also gauge whether you're ovulating or not through symptoms like bleeding, cramps, bloating and breast tenderness.

How do ovulation tests work?

During your cycle, the pituitary gland releases low levels of the luteinizing hormone (LH). About halfway through the cycle, your LH levels surge, triggering ovulation [2].

Ovulation tests work by detecting the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. High LH levels mean an egg has been released by the ovary, and when your LH is at a certain level, it signals that ovulation will occur within a few days [3].

When is the most fertile day of the month?

Eggs are released on the day of ovulation and can only survive for 24 hours, so this day is when your fertility is at its peak.

However, your chances of conceiving are still higher in the days leading up to this, as sperm can survive in the reproductive system for up to five days, meaning it can still meet the egg once it has been released [4].

How long after a positive ovulation test do you ovulate?

A positive test simply means that your luteinizing hormone levels are high. This hormone surge is what triggers your fertile window.

So, when this surge is detected by an ovulation test, you will begin ovulating within 24-36 hours [5].

What are the different types of ovulation tests?

It might surprise you to learn that there are, in fact, 3 different kinds of kits for ovulation testing.

The different types of ovulation tests are:

Digital ovulation tests

Digital ovulation tests contain a digital reader and strips, just like pregnancy tests. A digital ovulation test has a computer chip that reads the test results and displays them on a small LCD screen.

While they deliver the same kind of accuracy, many women find digital tests easier to read, which eliminates any confusion about their results [6].

Ovulation test sticks

This is a midstream test which you urinate directly onto, and a line displays indicating whether or not you are ovulating. These are the most common ovulation tests and are very cost-effective and easy to use.

Ovulation test strips

These are similar to sticks, just sans the casing. Strips are generally placed in a cup of urine rather than used as a midstream test. They are also generally more affordable per test than other ovulation predictor tests.

How to use an ovulation test?

An ovulation test works very similarly to a pregnancy test using 2 lines to represent hormone levels.

  • The control line indicates whether or not the test is working.
  • The test line indicates whether or not you are ovulating. A lighter line indicates a negative test, meaning your LH levels are lower. Whereas a dark line represents a positive test and indicates, you are ovulating.

The steps for how to use a midstream or strip ovulation test are generally as followed:

  1. Unwrap the stick and take the cap off the absorbent tip.
  2. Place the test stick into the holder, click it into place, and wait for the test-ready symbol to appear on the holder.
  3. Hold the absorbent tip under your urine stream for 5-7 seconds. Alternatively, you can also catch your urine in a clean, dry cup and place the absorbent tip in it for 15 seconds.
  4. Point the tip down for 20-40 seconds until the test-ready symbol starts flashing, then put the cap back on the test stick and wipe off excess urine.
  5. The test should be ready within 3 minutes. There are various ways different tests will display positive and negative results.
  6. To finish, press the eject button and remove the stick, wipe the holder clean and wait until the display is clean before inserting a new test.

Is it better to test for ovulation in the morning or afternoon?

So, now you know what an ovulation test is, you might be wondering when to take an ovulation test, morning or night?

The time of day isn't actually that important when it comes to getting an accurate ready. However, your urine can become more diluted throughout the day depending on how much you eat and drink.

This is why most accurate results are generally found in the morning before you have had anything to drink.

Morning urine will have the highest concentration of the luteinizing hormone. To ensure you don't miss an LH surge, we suggest testing at the same time every day until the test line is almost as dark as the control line.

After that, you can even test twice a day to ensure you don't miss a surge [7]. Good luck!

Photo credit: Getty Images

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