There are many ovulation predictors that can help tell you when you ovulate. This is important if you are trying to get pregnant, or trying to avoid pregnancy.
Why Predicting Ovulation Is Helpful
After sexual intercourse, a man's sperm is able to fertilize a woman's egg for about three days. After ovulation, an egg remains alive and able to be fertilized for only about 24 hours. If you can predict when you will ovulate, you can time sexual intercourse to take advantage of the days before ovulation. This will maximize your chances of conceiving.
If your menstrual cycle is very regular, you may be able to predict ovulation simply by observing changes in your body and keeping track on a calendar. (See Signs of Ovulation for more information.) If your cycle is not regular, if you're not able to detect the changes, or if you simply want a different method, you can try purchasing an ovulation predictor.
There are two types of ovulation predictors available at the drugstore. Ovulation predictor kits reveal hormone changes in your urine. The OV-Watch is a sensor which detects changes in perspiration. Both can alert you before ovulation occurs.
About Ovulation Predictor Kits
An ovulation predictor kit uses a simple urine test to measure a hormone called Luteinizing Hormone (LH). During your menstrual cycle, a surge in LH tells your ovaries that it's time to release an egg. Most women will ovulate within a day or two after the LH surge. Each kit should contain enough materials for about a week of testing. Kits range in price from about $15 to $30.
How to Use a Predictor for Ovulation Kit
Follow the package instructions for exact information on the kit you've purchased. Some are very simple: you hold a test stick in your urine stream, wait a few minutes, and then check the results.
You should start using the kit in the middle of your menstrual cycle, or on about the twelfth day after your period starts. You may want to create an Ovulation Calendar to help you decide when to begin testing.
It's hard to know exactly when ovulation will occur after the LH surge, but it should happen within a day or two. Remember that the egg can only be fertilized in the first 24 hours after ovulation, so it's a good idea to begin trying to conceive before the surge and continue for a few days after. If you use ovulation predictor kits for a few months, you can get an idea of when in your cycle you usually ovulate.
If You Don't See an LH Surge
If the test never registers an LH surge, first check to be sure you're using it correctly, and on the right days. Try starting a few days earlier on your next cycle, and continuing a few days later. If that doesn't help, talk to your doctor. It's possible that you are not ovulating. You may need treatment to help with fertility.
Accuracy of Predictor of Ovulation Kits
If used correctly, ovulation predictor kits do a good job at predicting ovulation. They are accurate as much as 98% of the time. Doctors are still studying how well the kits work to help women get pregnant.
About the OV-Watch
The OV-Watch is a small computer that you wear while sleeping. Before you ovulate, the amount of chloride in your sweat increases. The OV-Watch detects this change.
You begin using the OV-Watch when your period starts. According to the manufacturer, the OV-Watch will alert you four days before ovulation happens. After ovulation, it reminds you that you may still be fertile for another day or two.
Statistics show that you are most likely to get pregnant if you have intercourse before you actually ovulate. The OV-Watch may have an advantage over the LH test because it can predict ovulation earlier. The OV-Watch costs about $200, including supplies for three months of testing.
Accuracy of the OV-Watch
Results of a study to see how well the OV-Watch works should be available in 2007. According to the manufacturer, the OV-Watch predicts ovulation correctly about 86% of the time.
Other Ways to Predict Ovulation
An Ovulation Calendar will give you a general idea of your ovulation time. Changes in your cervical mucus can hint that ovulation is occurring. A slight rise in body temperature lets you know that ovulation has probably happened. You can find more information in the LoveToKnow articles on Ovulation and Signs of Ovulation.