Home Testing Kits

It's all in the timing

It's all in the timing

Thinking of having a baby? You may consider a home ovulation test kit. These kits can be a useful tool to pinpoint the best time to conceive a child.

A woman's most fertile time is about 2 weeks before her period. This is when her pituitary gland steps up production of luteinizing hormone (LH). Within a day or two, her ovary releases an egg and ovulation begins. Having intercourse at this time greatly increases the chances of getting pregnant. But women still need to know when they're about to ovulate.

So how is this done? Home test kits detect the surge of LH before ovulation by measuring the LH contained in urine. Collect your urine and put it on the test strip as instructed in the package directions. After the period of time specified in the directions, compare the color of the test stick against the chart in the kit. If it stays white, there's very little LH in your urine. This means that you're not about to ovulate, so the chances of getting pregnant are lower. If the test strip turns a color, your urine contains a greater amount of LH. The darker the color, the more LH there is.

It's important to do the test every day in the 10 days around ovulation. The day you start testing depends on the normal length of your menstrual cycle. If your cycle typically runs 28 days, start testing on day 10 and keep testing until day 20. Your test sticks should become a gradually darker color until they match up with an indicator provided in the kit. This means that LH production has begun and ovulation will start within the next 2 days.

Some test kits, also called fertility monitors, contain software that helps you track your fertility more precisely. With these kits, you insert the test strip into a monitor that displays your results.

You should test every day at the same time to get the best results. Some tests recommend using the first morning urine, whereas others may be done at any time of day. You may get a false positive reading showing high levels of LH, even though you're not about to ovulate. This usually happens because of medications you might be taking, or because of health problems (like ovarian cysts). If you see no sign of LH, or get odd results, talk to your doctor about it.

The contents of this health site are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition.

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