Ovulation Predictor Kits or OPK’s as you may have seen them referred to, can be a useful tool when trying to get pregnant. In this article, I will discuss more about the OPK’s and how to use them to figure out your most fertile time.
Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPK’s)
Many women find themselves having difficulty getting pregnant. But most couples will successfully conceive within the first year of trying. And when you learn how ovulation works and determine your fertile window, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant faster.
What is Ovulation?
Ovulation, as defined by the American Pregnancy Association, is when a mature egg is released from the ovary and travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus for potential fertilization.
This event occurs approximately every month. And if the eggs is not fertilized, and conception does not occur, your menstrual period will follow shortly thereafter.
Women will typically ovulate on the 14th day of her menstrual cycle. Read more about determining your fertile window here.
Why do I Need to Know When I Ovulate?
If you are trying to conceive, it is important to understand that you have a “fertile window” each month. This is the only time period when you can actually conceive. And it does not last long.
The key to getting pregnant sooner, is understanding your cycle. Because not every woman’s menstrual cycle is like clock work.
You want to get the best idea of when you ovulate to increase the likelihood of conception.
How to Know When My Fertile Window Is
You can refer to this article on the fertile window. It gives you full details of how you can best determine your most fertile time of the month.
One useful tool when trying to get pregnant are ovulation predictor kits.
How do Ovulation Strips Work?
Ovulation strips work by detecting the level of the luteinizing hormone (LH) circulating.
Unlike pregnancy tests, when you use these strips you will always see two lines. Because you always have some degree of this hormone circulating.
What you will be looking for with the ovulation strips is to see the test line getting darker and darker. Eventually you want the test line to be darker than the sample line. This indicates a Luteinizing Hormone surge.
Luteinizing Hormone Surge
The LH surge is what causes the egg to be released from the ovary and begin its venture to the uterus.
Once the LH surge has occurred, the egg will get released within 24-36 hours.
Knowing when this surge happens is the key to knowing when you are going to ovulate. And these OPK’s will tell you just that!
Think about it. These strips give you insight on what your body’s hormones are doing. You can essentially pinpoint when you can get pregnant to the day. Isn’t that awesome?!
Timing is Key
Once the egg leaves the ovary, it only lives for 12-24 hours. So, timing conception is sometimes not as simple as it may sound. That is a very small window of opportunity.
Fortunately, God is on the side of procreation and made it so sperm live for several days (up to 5) in the women’s reproductive track. This gives us some wiggle room when it comes to timing it perfectly.
How to Use Ovulation Predictor Kits
If you have no idea what your menstrual cycle is like, I recommend that you begin by marking when your period begins on a calendar. This is the first day of your menstrual cycle.
Now, most women ovulate around day 14 of their menstrual cycle. Therefore, you will want to start using the ovulation predictor strip at about day 9 or 10.
But some women ovulate earlier than 14 days and some women ovulate later. That is why it is beneficial to also be monitoring your basal body temperature (BBT).
Sure, you can use the strips everyday of your cycle and compare all of them, but that would be a lot of strips and a lot of wasted effort.
Once you get a better idea of what day you tend to ovulate on, you will be able to narrow your window down.
Using the Strips
- Use a small disposable cup of some kind to collect your urine in.
- Then dip the ovulation strip as indicated on the packaging. (Usually for about 5 seconds.)
- Put a date and time on the end of the strips so you are able to compare.
- You can take a piece of paper and tape the strips to it. This will help you keep it all in order and together.
- Observe the second line (test line) and watch for a trend.
What time of day do I use the ovulation strips?
When you begin using the ovulation strips, use three a day (say morning, noon and night) and compare the strips to one another. The time of day is less important than when testing for pregnancy, in which the first morning urine tends to be the most concentrated.
The key here is to see the lines trending darker each day you get closer to ovulation. Once you see the second line get darker than the control line, this means ovulation is likely to occur within 24-36 hours.
Ovulation Predictor Kits are a great tool to use when you are trying to become pregnant.
In addition to monitoring your basal body temperature, using OPK’s can help you pin point your fertile window. And this will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!