In this article:. Ovulation, put simply, is the release of a mature egg from one of your ovaries each menstrual cycle. Contrary to popular belief however, this crucial event does NOT always occur on Day 14 of the menstrual cycle.
The day of ovulation each cycle can vary from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. In fact, in normal menstrual cycles, ovulation can occur as early as Day 8 or as late as Day 25 of the cycle. Ironically, the day your egg is released marks the end of your fertile time, with your best chance of conception resulting from sex in the few days before ovulation 1 2.
The purpose of OPK tests is to identify these fertile days preceding ovulation. Another extremely valuable alternative for detecting these fertile days is the Fertility Awareness Method which I personally believe carries significant advantages over using an OPK — but more on this later.
It all comes down to key changes in the levels of two of your reproductive hormones — estrogen and luteinizing hormone LH. These hormones are involved in the intricate and complex process that results in an egg being released from one of your ovaries each cycle. As they grow and mature, these follicles secrete the hormone estrogen estradiol. One follicle and the egg it contains ultimately dominates and continues to mature while the rest of the follicles degenerate and die.
Levels of estrogen from this dominant follicle rise dramatically in the days leading up to ovulation until they reach a critical level. Urine based OPKs come in a number of different formats — from basic paper strips through to cassettes with droppers, to a more fancy but not necessarily any better digital option. Regardless of the type, they are all designed to do the same thing — detect the surge in luteinizing hormone that occurs just before ovulation, as discussed above.
Coloured bands or lines will appear on the stick or test strip to let you know whether or not the LH surge has started. Digital OPKs use easy-to-read symbols instead of coloured bands. Tips to get the best out of your urine based OPK:.
For information on some of their limitations and how this can be overcome, see below. As your estrogen levels rise due to the developing follicle in your ovaries, so too does the salt content of your saliva. When this saliva is put on a slide to dry, the salt crystallizes to form a pattern that looks like ferns.
A saliva-based OPK is basically just a small, transportable microscope that typically looks like a lipstick case. Saliva is placed on the in-built slide with a clean finger or by licking the slide.
Once dry, the saliva is observed through the microscope to see if there is a ferning pattern.To maximize your chance of getting pregnant each cycle, it's important to time sex during your most fertile window — the days leading up to ovulation.
Ovulation predictor kits vs. charting: Pros and cons
But how do you know when that is? Some woman use ovulation predictor kits and others track their basal body temperature and cervical mucus to try to determine when they will ovulate.
Here are the pros and cons of each method. Ovulation predictor kit : The most common type of kit tests your urine for hormones that signal ovulation is imminent. Another type of kit tests the salt content of your saliva as your estrogen levels rise in the days before ovulation. BBT and cervical mucus chart : With this method, you use a special thermometer to take your temperature when you first wake up in the morning, and you also note the changes in the texture of your cervical mucus during your cycle.
Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Efficacy of a new method of family planning: The Standard Days Method.
Contraception 65 5 —8. Curtis KM et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 65 4 Ovulation urine test. Food and Drug Administration. Ovulation saliva test. Standard Days Method. Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University. Ovulation home test. National Library of Medicine. Stanford JB et al. Timing intercourse to achieve pregnancy: Current evidence.
Obstetrics and Gynecology 6 Evaluation of the menstrual cycle and timing of ovulation. Wilcox AJ et al. Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation.
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Pros Cons Convenient and simple. Kits can be expensive. Quicker and easier than charting. Your results may be inaccurate if you don't follow the instructions exactly. Can predict ovulation about 24 to 36 hours before it happens. These tests can detect the hormonal changes that take place right before ovulation, but they don't confirm that you've ovulated.We strive to provide you with a high quality community experience.
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Basal Body Temperature: 5 Reasons Why It’s Bad for Tracking Ovulation
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Trying To Conceive. Community Guidelines Community Glossary. Just so you know, What to Expect may make commissions on shopping links on this page. This discussion is archived and locked for posting.What works for some will be different for others. The clearest way to see what is going on with your body is to chart multiple fertility signs. BBT is more "accurate" in that it is the only of the two that will actually confirm that you've ovulated.
Unfortunately, it only tells you after the fact. Most ladies on here do both. Charting your BBT will tell you when you've ovulated. But after you see a thermal shift on your chart, it's too late to try to get PG that cycle. OPKs can give you a heads-up that O is approaching so you can time sex better. I use both, and I feel dumb for not using them from cycle 1.
It's so cool to know what is going on in there. I do both and agree with all PPs. I only used OPK last month and this month I started charting my temps along with it. I already notice a difference with the stress and anxiety I had with not knowing anything other than the stick saying I "have the potential' to O in the next day or so. Much better this month! Log in. My account. Baby Registry. The Bump Baby Registry. Getting Pregnant. Sign up for The Bump!
Get weekly updates on baby and your body. Start by selecting which of these best describes you! Trying to Get Pregnant New Discussion. September in Trying to Get Pregnant. This question may have been asked before but I have looked back a couple pages and didn't see it. Report 0 Reply to Post. September Have you read this info yet? It may help answer some of your questions. Report 0 Reply. I think most ladies do a combo. Temping takes a lot of the guess work out.But is it really a good method for figuring out the best time to try to make a baby?
For many women—especially those with irregular cycles—this prediction may not be accurate. If taking your temperature every morning were effortless, that would be one thing. But the truth is, most women find it extremely burdensome. Who wants to get woken up with an alarm at am every day reminding you to stick a thermometer in your mouth or your butt, if you want a really accurate reading?! Who wants to worry about waking up their partner when the thermometer beeps?
This gets into a larger issue, which is the expectation that women do all the work when it comes to fertility and baby-making. But there are plenty of other options. Some women like OPKs. Ava is a sensor bracelet, worn only at night, that detects subtle physiological changes that are associated with changing hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle. It was shown in clinical trials to detect an average of 5 fertile days per cycle in real time—more than any other device.
It also tracks physiological changes that happen when estradiol rises, usually five days before ovulation. I am interested in Ava for personal use. This site is using first and third party cookies to be able to adapt the advertising based on your preferences.
Related posts. If your country is listed, please select your currency.Both are useful in detecting ovulationbut they work differently. When you urinate on a stick from an ovulation predictor kitit will turn color the day before you ovulate, indicating a surge in luteinizing hormone LH.
This surge is what causes your ovary to release an egg. An ovulation kit increases your chances of conceiving by enabling you to time sex to within a day of the LH surge. In contrast, a basal body temperature BBT chart can tell you when you have already ovulated. Your basal body temperature and cervical mucus reflect your progesterone level, which is close to zero before you ovulate and rises dramatically after ovulation.
When your progesterone level rises, so does your temperature, giving you a sign that you have ovulated. A BBT chart tells you something about when you ovulated in a particular month, but it can't tell you exactly when to have sex or uterine insemination that same month. You have to chart your BBT for a few months and spot a pattern in your cycle before you can use it to predict when you're most fertile.
An ovulation predictor kit, on the other hand, can give you advanced warning of ovulation the first month you use it. Learn more about how to predict ovulation by tracking your BBT. Weigh the pros and cons of ovulation predictor kits versus BBT charting in more detail.
Fertility awareness-based methods of family planning. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Mayo Clinic. Basal body temperature for natural family planning. Ovulation home test. Basal body temperature chart. Trying to conceive. Join now to personalize. By Sherman Silber, M.
Show sources ACOG. Sherman Silber, M.
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I've been charting on the web site Fertility Friend. Well, my cycle started on July So I assumed that that was when I was likely to ovulate, that's what they say anyway. I took the tests for a couple more days and it didn't detect the surge anymore so I figured I had ovulated. The only thing was my temperatures did not match up to this. According to be BBT's I just ovulated three days ago.
I am so confused? Which method should I go by? I have been taking my temp.
What is more accurate? OPK's or BBT?
Does anyone know? We are despretly ttc and I need to be as accurate as possible. I do not know whether you are TTC or trying to avoid pregnancy, but I have found that people who use OPK's are more successful in their endeavors. BBT and cervical muscous can be very misleading, and the tests which determine by urine are more accurate. With an OPK, if you get a "positive" then you should ovulate within 24 hours.
Now the only thing is I had a dip in my temp. I wonder I have had aweful headachs the past two days, along with nausea this morning. Maybe I am just hoping to hard. I am def. Trying for twins at that. Quick reply. If you want to get notified by every reply to your post, please register. It is FREE! No, thanks Register.