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Many women turn to ovulation calculators and/or kits when they decide they want to become pregnant. Sometimes women have very regular cycles and it is very easy to determine the best time to try and conceive a baby, however a lot of women struggle nowadays to figure out when their ovulation will begin.
The Basics of Ovulation and Pregnancy
To start with the most simple and basic fact, you are most likely to get pregnant when you are most fertile, which is at the time of ovulation. Let us get down to the basics. When you ovulate, an egg is released from your ovary and the egg is only viable for 12 to 24 hours.
Sperm can last 48 to 72 hours after sex. Using those time frames, there is a very small window for you to get pregnant. Isn’t that crazy? This is such a short period of time, but this is the period of time when you are most likely to get pregnant.
To determine your ovulation and the best day to become pregnant you need to begin with the first day of your last period. You then will want to know approximately how many days your period lasts. Most ovulation calculators have you enter these two factors and it will do the math for the best days for you to have sex to become pregnant.
Using Ovulation Calculators
For example, let us say you enter the date May 21st as the first day of your last menstrual cycle and you determine the number of days of your cycle is 28 days. An ovulation calculator will inform you that your three most fertile days are somewhere between June 1st and June 6th.
It is important to understand that using an ovulation calculator does not mean you will get pregnant right away. Ovulation calculators have flaws. Here are a few things to keep in mind when using an ovulation calculator:
The ovulation calculator is not going to always give you the exact days you are most fertile. An ovulation calculator is an estimate and you should follow the signs of ovulation on top of an ovulation calculator.
- Cervical Mucous:
- This goes hand in hand with tracking your cycle. Some women do not track their cycles closely, but notice a change in their cervical mucous and know it may be getting close. When you notice that your mucous is clear, stretchy, and is similar to egg whites, this is when you are at most fertile.
- Basal Body Temperature:
- Checking your basal body temperature may sound a little old school, but if you want to get pregnant quickly it is best to cover all your bases. A lot of the fertility apps also have an area to record your basal body temperature. What is your basal body temperature? This is the temperature of your body when you are at full rest. When you ovulate, your body temperature increases. Checking and recording your basal body temperature daily can help you predict when you are most fertile.
The best time of day to check your basal body temperature is first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. Make sure you use an accurate thermometer or a specific basal thermometer.
You cannot use an ovulation calculator if you have irregular cycles. If you insert the first day of your last period and input you have a cycle that last 28 days, but the following month it is 14 days, the ovulation calculator will not be accurate. An ovulation calculator calculates using the typical facts regarding a normal ovulation.
Why Women Do Not Become Pregnant Right Away
This is a common reason why most women do not become pregnant right away. Many women are not aware that they are having an irregular cycle. There are several different applications available to help you keep track of your symptoms, bleeding, and more.
Once you can get a grasp on how your menstrual cycle is, each month you can discuss this with your doctor. There are drugs available to help normalize your menstrual cycle and increase the chances of you becoming pregnant.
Lack of Ovulation Signs
If you are not showing signs of ovulation, you may not be ovulating. Normally, if you are not showing any signs of ovulation, you may not be ovulating at all. You can use an ovulation calculator month after month in hope you are estimating your most fertile days, but its more than likely you may not become pregnant.
Your luteal phase matters. The luteal phase is the second half of your menstrual cycle. The luteal phase should be between 12 and 16 days in length. If your luteal phase is too long or too short, your fertility may not be normal.
Fertility Issues with Your Partner
It may be your partner. Each month you may be calculating your most fertile days and ovulation, but if there is a fertility issue with your partner, you will not become pregnant. You may not even be the reason why you are not becoming pregnant!
After you and your partner have tried getting pregnant for a period of time, your partner should get checked out. Do not wait until later to have him check, get all the facts together. Your partner could have several things that may be causing the issues including: low sperm motility, hormones, sperm production problems, and more.
When it comes time to actually take an ovulation test, here are the very basic steps:
Purchase an ovulation test at your local drug store. There are two types of tests you can purchase:
- You can purchase an ovulation test that measures the LH (luteinizing hormone) in your urine. This hormone increases one or two days before your ovulation. Just like with a pregnancy test, you place the test strip under the stream of your urine to measure the LH in your urine. The LH surge is when the egg is being released from your ovaries.
- You can also use a testing kit that measures the amount of fern patterns in your saliva. You take a look at your dry saliva under a microscope. The presence of fern patterns means you have an increase of estrogen, which happens a few days before ovulation.
Tracking Water Consumption
Keep track of how much water you are consuming hours before the test. If your urine is extremely concentrated or very diluted this can throw of the test results. For best results, you want to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and take the test with a full bladder.
Reading the test is pretty simple and similar to reading a pregnancy test. If a solid, dark line appears on the test this means you are likely ovulating. If there is a faint line, I would not consider this a reliable “yes” you are ovulating.
Some great ovulation kits to purchase include:
- First Response Daily Digital Ovulation Test
- This test uses a digital yes or no and is very simple to use. The kit comes with one digital reader and 20 test sticks.
- Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test
- This test gives you about a four-day window of when you may be ovulating. The kit comes with one digital reader and 10 test sticks.
- Wondfo LH Ovulation Test Strips
- This is a great kit to purchase if you think you may need to test a lot. It comes with lots of test sticks for half the price of the other kits.
- Fertile-Focus Personal Ovulation Microscope
- This is the best saliva test to check for a fern-like pattern.
Expensive Ovulation Tests
It can become expensive to use ovulation tests to determine when you are ovulating. The LH surge lasts about 24 to 48 hours. This is a very short period of time to detect ovulation. Multiple ovulation tests may need to be used, which adds up.
Accuracy of Ovulation Kits
Ovulation kits are about 99 percent accurate. Some women may have an increase in their LH hormone without actually releasing an egg, which is also known as Luteinized Unruptured Follicle Syndrome (LUFS). Some women may also experience fall peaks in their LH hormone, which may mean they have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
If you have been using an ovulation calculator and/or kit for several months, make sure you are taking a look at other signs of infertility which include:
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is when a woman does not release an egg regularly, or in other words does not ovulate. The ovaries contain a small cystic structure that are tiny fluid-filled sacs. The eggs grow, but are never released from these fluid-filled sacs, which results in no ovulation. The difference between a normal ovary and a polycystic ovary is in a polycystic ovary there are many small follicles with eggs in them, but they do not mature properly which leads to no ovulation.
- If you are experiencing pain during sexual intercourse this could be a sign of an infection. There are lots of reasons for infections that could be from sexual transmitted diseases or low immune system.
- Hormonal imbalances are a huge reason of infertility. It is common for women to experience skin changes including more acne, weight gain, loss of hair, dark hair growth, headaches, breast tenderness, nipple discharge (not related to breastfeeding), low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and bloating. When women approach their doctor with infertility issues all of these things are looked at, and then it is determined where and how to balance out your hormones.
Some women and couples think they can use an ovulation calculator and/or kit as a form of birth control. It is important to know that this method should not be used as a way to not get pregnant. Ovulation kids only measure the LH surge up to 24 to 48 hours before ovulation and sperm can survive in your body for up to 3 to 5 days. So, if you have sex before your LH surge and there is a viable sperm, it can fertilize and you may become pregnant.
If you have been using ovulation calculators and/or kits for a few months and you and your partner have been actively trying for 6 months to 1 year, it is then recommended to reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss possibilities of infertility.